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Facebook has ended the ability to automatically post Tweets to profiles or pages (help.twitter.com)
179 points by f_allwein 7 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 114 comments

To be clear, Facebook has ended the ability to automatically post _anything_ to a personal profile.

More details: https://betanews.com/2018/08/02/twitter-facebook-crossposts-...

Except for Instagram posts, presumably?

Yup, Instagram still works.

This seems like this will trigger anti-trust proceedings.

How so? Facebook is owned by Facebook. Facebook is simply not allowing other services to post on a user's behalf. Those other services still exist, Facebook is not a public good, etc.

A big part of anti-trust law in the US is that natural monopolies are permitted - you can build a business that dominates your market segment and not be subject to anti-trust proceedings, but you cannot use that natural monopoly to advantage your other lines of business by providing them with exclusive, preferred or other special treatment in said natural monopoly. This was the crux of US vs. MSFT.

The argument here is that Facebook is a natural monopoly and by only allowing Instagram to post automatically to a users timeline, they are leveraging that legal natural monopolies power to advantage Instagram.

"Natural monopoly" does not mean that.

What does Facebook have a monopoly on?

Microsoft had a monopoly on the retail operating system space and leveraged that monopoly to force vendors into bad positions that excluded other operating systems a shot on a fair market. They also used their position to push their products to the detriment of other competitors.

As far as I can tell, Facebook just has a monopoly on Facebook. Which is to be expected since Facebook is Facebook.

I should have included this in my parent comment: this is the argument regarding facebook's activities being anti-competitive; I don't necessarily believe this argument to be true. I really don't have a position on it in either direction at this time.

Then that doesn't really help anything here.

I asked how would this trigger anti-trust proceedings because Facebook is not abusing a monopoly position, they're just not letting other services post to their site.

You responded by basically saying "Yeah, but people think they are". Which really doesn't address anything. So I asked more directly what do they have a monopoly on.

I know people think they're a monopoly. I think those people are wrong. At least until they can tell me a monopoly on what.

Facebook has a monopoly on social networks used to communicate with people you know IRL.

Google Shopping was fined over less: https://www.tnooz.com/article/google-shopping-decision-sets-...

Large companies, particularly in the EU, are not allowed to throw their weight around to privilege their own services and apps.

That's not "less". That's way more.

Google prioritizing their offerings over other vendors on a search they control is far different than "Can't post on Facebook from Twitter".

Google has put itself forward as a fairly agnostic search. No one signs up to be indexed by Google. It works more like a common good. So when Google starts offering a service, then puts its own offerings before others in its search. That's dirty pool.

But that's not what's happening here. Facebook is a platform to connect with other people who are also on Facebook. It doesn't purport to be a central hub for anything but Facebook. It's just not allowing Twitter (and others) to post on users' behalf.

So if Google started to say that Google is primarily an interface to Google products, their anti-competetive behaviour would suddenly be okay?

> Facebook is not a public good

I thought Facebook was on the stock market...

This includes most blog integrations, eg. being able to configure Wordpress to post a plug on your personal FB when you write something in your blog.

Yes, this was part of their "security" change after the Cambridge Analytica debacle.

Although, any site using their JS API can still get your name, email and a unique ID, posting is now restricted via a FB modal or pop-up (which is blocked by more recent browsers).

I think this happened in May/June of this year, IIRC.

The change went live on August 1, where they deprecated the "publish_actions" permission.

They stopped new app approval for awhile, prior to the official deprecation announcement.

Good! This means more open distribution methods (email) will be given priority again.

I don't want Facebook, nor Twitter. Just take my email address and send me your content, or offer an RSS feed.

EDIT: Anyone know if this kills Buffer and other social feed managers?

Yes, this kills buffer's ability to post to profiles, however pages and groups are still allowed. https://faq.buffer.com/article/985-publish-facebook-api-chan...

Good - if you don't like/use Facebook. For people who like/use it (and there are many), this is a very sad day.

What the walled garden giveth, it taketh away. Build on someone's platform? Depend on it exclusively? Gonna have a bad time. You would think folks would learn by now.

The real problem is that if 80% of your audience is in the walled garden, and no more than 10% of your audience is on any one of the many other alternatives, you're kind of stuck if you want to reach as many of them as possible easily.

It’s not your audience; it’s Facebook’s audience. You’ve just been granted the temporary privilege of access to them with no further guarantees.

For people who like/use it (and there are many), this is a very sad day.

Only temporarily. Once folks move off of Facebook and onto something better, they'll realize that this was a Good Thing overall.

Presumably people wanting to post links to their personal blog can still open up Facebook in a new tab and Ctrl-V the link in themselves, which will take them all of about 10 seconds. Seems a small price to pay if it cuts down the ridiculous amount of botspam on the platform.

This can - and is - used to argue against anything that enables users to do more. This thinking is part of the reason why computing for regular people has only fraction of the utility it could have.

Yes. Following that idea to its logical conclusion would mean getting rid of computers entirely.

"This means more open distribution methods (email) will be given priority again."

While that would be nice, I'm not holding my breath.

Yup. I had DlvrIt posting my blog posts to Facebook, and now that doesn't work.

I wonder what the reasoning behind this is. It seems that it would reduce the amount of content on Facebook.

Perhaps the thought is that people will go and post directly to Facebook instead? Or it could be a way of reducing noice/spam.

Apparently it's part of further locking down their API (https://techcrunch.com/2018/08/01/psa-cross-posting-tweets-t...) so that random apps that have been given permission to post by default can no longer do so.

The way I read it, people who deliberately want to cross-post tweets are essentially collateral damage.

Why couldn't they blanket-deauth all Facebook apps (or maybe just ones authed before this year, or sth.) instead? People would fix the apps they still use. And really, publishing apps on FB is not a real problem; apps exfiltrating data is.

Apps exfiltrating is one problem. Bots posing as real people to rile up racial/political/etc. tensions is another, and this approach helps a bit there.

And conflating the two problems really doesn't help.

Simply: Apps exfiltrating data can be prevented almost entirely using sane permissions, sufficient security, oh and not willingly turning a blind eye, helps. That is about read permissions and entirely not what this news is about.

Bots and troll-armies posting to polarise and increase tensions, are indeed a write permission problem, and superficially appear to be what this news is about. Except that as long as humans can post on FB, so can troll armies and bots. This only takes away capability for the small to medium scale ease of use. Any determined adversary wouldn't have been using these capabilities anyway because it's too easy to detect as not organic.

Surely the automated blackhat and/or psy-op bot farms use automated browsers, headless browsers, key macro scripts, or whatever to simulate an actual human user interacting at human speed--just 1000s in parallel. I mean it's not rocket science and as soon as you're running a slightly larger operation it pays to just do it properly right away.

This news changes nothing for the bot farms on missions that had to fly below the radar already anyway.

This won't help much. Evil Enemies of Freedom and US Way of Life will continue to hire low-paid workers in poor countries to post manually, with or without help of whatever Selenium/mbasic.facebook.com automation someone will promptly create.

Yes, of course it can still be done manually, but that introduces magnitudes more friction to their operations. It's no longer "post once, publish everywhere" as far as FB is concerned.

Again, I don't think this kind of friction is meaningful for the purported targets - but it definitely is for everyone else.

Well I think it is. It may not eliminate the actors and thus not a perfect solution, but this isn't a calculus final and it's going to slow propagation by definition, which for me is a self-evident win.

That would be the death of the platform.

Assuming they just meant revoking the authorization to post, that's less extreme than permanently disabling the API endpoint for all apps.

I'm surprised at the almost universal outrage over this. I assumed this was in response to the whole election interference campaign and related issues, i.e. preventing bots from blasting out content and predetermined times or in response to specific keywords in the news, things like that. So this seems like a step in the direction of ensuring actual humans are doing these things (or at least make it slightly more difficult for the bots). But maybe I'm wrong. I don't really use Facebook to begin with so I'm probably missing something here.

I used to use this feature. It meant that I didn't have to log in to Facebook to re-post the thing I already posted on Twitter. If I still used this feature, I'd be upset that Facebook just took a step to make my life a little bit harder.

In general, I care more about my own convenience than some incremental step against bots that probably won't noticeably impact my experience on the site.

I agree - I see a lot of small business, even individuals from music/art circles what don't want to spend an inordinate amount of time keeping "followers" up to date...

If they can create and share once but have the computers syndicate that to the places that matter, they've found a happy balance.

The issue with the current model is that it's easily abused by bad actors (pun intended) to cram content down people's eye sockets.

I haven't used Facebook in a while, but can't you just not follow the accounts that spam bad content?

I'm in the same boat. It would apprear they realized that they are loosing advertizing eyeballs. Just checked, this also affects Buffer¹.

Well, if they are making a push to lock people into their platform, this might make me back off further.


I don't really get the hate, either - but then again, I was one of the people who was generally annoyed by friends filling their profiles and feeds with all kinds of auto-shared stuff from every other service... I like to imagine everybody would curate a little bit more on their own. Important stuff will still get shared, and if it isn't worth sharing if you have to do it manually instead of using an app or checkbox to "always share to Facebook", well, maybe it wasn't worth sharing to the world in the first place.

(I think in reality, my view of Facebook as a tool for messaging and looking at photos is probably fundamentally different than a lot of the upset people posting here who seemed to use Facebook for promoting their blogs or personal twitter brand or whatever)

You may have different followers on each platform. Your Instagram followers and your twitter followers and your Facebook friends are all slightly different groups. So to reach all of them, you need to post to all of these platforms.

It's more likely a move to try to keep people within the walled garden of facebook - people can't easily move to competitors (like blogs, other social media), if those competitors can't share to facebook too automatically to ease the transition.

It also means they can more easily charge companies for posting (who are the ones most likely to want to post to several services).

I'm surprised at the outrage too. Your personal profile on Facebook is supposed to be a place to post your holiday photos, pictures of your kids, updates about events in your life etc, not mindless automated stuff like this. Part of the reason Instagram has surged in popularity lately is because it's generally real humans posting the content rather than endless automated shitposts (I'm not saying they don't exist, but it's certainly more difficult to implement than it is on Facebook).

You'd think the posters in this thread have some kind of business interest in this functionality based on the way they're reacting.

> Your personal profile on Facebook is supposed to be a place to post your holiday photos, pictures of your kids, updates about events in your life etc, not mindless automated stuff like this.

Sure, but that doesn't mean you want it always entered on Facebook. When I post an Instagram photo, I'd like it to show up on Facebook as well (ironically, and totally as expected, this one will apparently still work). When I write a review on Goodreads, I'd like it to be reposted on Facebook automatically, without me having to copy-paste it. Etc.

This move is just further walling up Facebook's ecosystem.

Like automatic twitter updates containing personal thoughts being rebroadcasted. This will reduce the already thinning content on facebook further.

> Part of the reason Instagram has surged in popularity lately is because it's generally real humans posting the content rather than endless automated shitposts (I'm not saying they don't exist, but it's certainly more difficult to implement than it is on Facebook).

We are clearly not looking at the same subset of Instagram. I don't know anybody that actually uses it to post real content; it's just an endless feed of meme shitposting to laugh at.

Hey that was a pretty cool read.

Interesting to see what the kids are up to.

I am far too old and uncool to have any idea that that kind of thing existed. I'm more in the barstool sports/onion/fuckjerry/animalsdoingthings wheelhouse. Pure stupid entertainment, hearkening back to a simpler internet. Pepperidge Farms remembers...

I'm not outraged, but I think it's a self-defeating move for Facebook. Which is fine, since Facebook - as a walled garden which is opposed to the Open Web - needs to go away anyway.


I'm thinking more and more that I will probably be deleting my Facebook account sometime in the not too distant future. I'd really rather be doing all of my information sharing / browsing / interaction using a pure Open Web[1] oriented platform and that's exactly what Facebook is not.

Not sure exactly what form this will take, but I want to move to a platform which is not a walled garden, and is based on open and decentralized standards like RSS/Atom, ActivityStrea.ms, ActivityPub, RDF, FOAF, SIOC, XMPP, NNTP, SMTP, and the like.

A proper Web platform should allow anyone to participate on their own terms without some corporation being able to arbitrarily decide the terms of what you can do, while simultaneously profiting from the resale of our personal data.

Maybe this will mean Mastodon, maybe I'll go back to a self-hosted Roller based blog, etc. I already self-host an ejabberd server for XMPP messaging, so that will probably be part of what I do going forward.

[1]: http://tantek.com/2010/281/b1/what-is-the-open-web

It's annoying, I use Twitter as my main social network outlet, and post there regularly, and it was always convenient to have the posts mirrored on Facebook, since many friends don't use Twitter. Twitter is more of a work related thing, I guess, so perhaps I'll just end up segmenting my posting into work/personal between the two sites, but there's plenty of overlap and things I want to automatically go both places...

I feel like everyone uses different platforms to different ends, so I'm surprised at the number of people who feel the desire to crosspost.

To me, twitter is utterly cancerous and Facebook is where I see friends and family. To others, they use Twitter for communication with their business network, and Facebook for friends. And so on. The idea of blasting from one to the other, other than in the case of businesses (which I'm not much concerned about, they can suck it up) seems odd.

Obviously there's the occasional "tell twitter AND facebook that, after 10 years involved with this organization, I will be moving on.." but those rare cross posts can be done manually. It's the always-posting-multiple-places-as-part-of-a-personal-account that perplexes me.

And yet for some reason, plenty of people do mix and match. I have a bunch of Facebook friends who used the Twitter -> FB transport; part of their network is on Twitter, the other part is on Facebook, and they want to use a single entry point that's more convenient for them when posting.

The outrage isn't just about Twitter though. It's also about that you now can't do IFTTT->Facebook, Buffer->Facebook, or whatever other app you were using (including your own)->Facebook.

(Speaking of Buffer, did this move just kill their business?)

Buffer can still post to Facebook pages and groups. But it’s starting to feel more expensive for what it offers as the APIs and analytics available keep shrinking.

Perhaps, but anything that can no longer be done with a bot can (and will) be done by hordes of Chinese or Indian, etc., people working for pennies an hour.

Unless FaceBook is going to introduce CAPTCHAs for all submissions, bots will still be able to post just fine with a few tweaks.

CAPTCHAs are easily gamed too. Just throw whatever CAPTCHA you're trying to solve on a porn website and once someone fills it out simply have the bot copy over the response. This has been done for some time now.

So basically this removes my ability to set up crossposting through a nicely maintainable API, without making it much more difficult for any bot organization with an IT staff on call to switch to something like Selenium for their propaganda posting?

People who follow me on Facebook are different than people who follow me on Twitter. The integration was nice because I could send messages to both platforms at once and would get responses from different people on each.

I'm not going to copy-paste every tweet into Facebook, so I suspect I'll basically go silent on that platform. Which sucks. And if I'm not an active part of the Facebook community, I'll probably visit facebook.com very rarely.

I switched from Facebook to Twitter/Snap/Insta.

Much easier than I expected, I still check my facebook once every few weeks, but the content on FB was garbage.

Here here, re: content.

My usage of Facebook would probably increase if there was a way to filter-on site-keywords in and out of my newsfeed instead of relying on a browser extension.

As it is, I'm constantly hiding posts, snoozing or unfollowing people altogether-thinking "Fine Facebook, if you want to use algorithms based on how I use the site to customize my newsfeed, customize this".

Seems the site hasn't yet picked up that I don't want everyone's oversimplified political hot takes (but I like one Nicholas Cage meme and suddenly FB reacts "Would you like ALL the Cage recommendations??" No, not really). I like checking in on my friends, and that's the extant of how useful FB is to me, but there's a real fatigue to the political fatalism front and center.

So, twitter it is. So I can get my oversimplified sports hot takes. Those are at least humorous and entertaining.

If a social network comes along and grants me that kind of control, I would gladly beta that.

> I switched from Facebook to [...] Insta.

Well done! That will show them.

I may be swimming in the opposite direction, but I like to see that go. I left Twitter (well, abandoned my account) years ago, tired of the excessive noise and progressive loss of relevance to me. Seeing tweets on the FB feed always makes the author seem lazy and desperate to have a presence in every social media site, just because. I know that the change won't stop all of that but will certainly reduce it. FB isn't exactly a noiseless feed but I sort of have to put up with it given family and friends.

I mostly agree. I use different social media for mostly different purposes and I'm not a huge fan of indiscriminately spewing every thought and post across every connected network. I cross-post some things when I think it makes sense to do so but it's a small percentage of the total.

I had my blog auto post to facebook when I was using WordPress it was convenient but quickly realized it was annoying for others. Now I manually share on personal profile if I think my friends would enjoy it.

Glad to see it go away. Personally, I was getting tired of others’ auto posts too.

> seem lazy and desperate [...] every social media

Wow that's quite the overreach. I mean, if not wanting to do the same thing twice means being lazy, and wanting to reach people who are in one media but not the other means being desperate, then... I'm totally guilty! But I don't really agree with either premise.

Yup. Not only that, but this is basically missing the whole point of computing, which is for humans to not do the stuff computers are better at.

Apparently, a (for better or worse) big part of the web just lost a significant interoperability feature. Shame. And a reminder of how life with SaaS platforms looks like. You have little ability to improve things for yourself.

And a reminder of how life with SaaS platforms looks like. You have little ability to improve things for yourself.

Exactly. Hopefully this will nudge more people to start running smaller, more regionalized (maybe down to the level of the individual) instances of Open Source platforms, based on Open Standards, to replace the kind of functionality people have been getting from the Facebooks and Twitters and Instagrams of the world. That would be a Good Thing.

Meh... this should make facebook way less spammy. I approve. People can still share things organically.

Majority of spam comes from Facebook pages and groups, not individual profiles. Which, apparently, this change does not affect.

This was the only way I used facebook. Time to move on

I didn't know that was possible, so I used to do the same thing via IFTTT, that probably still works.

Nope. All automated posting to a personal profile is now blocked.

Ifttt to fan page should work

On related note, Python's mechanize and requests libraries will probably soar in popularity.

I haven't tried to, but I think you'll need a software that can interpret js to interact with FB. Like webdriver, or headless chrome.

You could use https://mbasic.facebook.com/ which doesn't use any JavaScript (there is actually no script tags in the page source).

I wonder how soon they'll try to plug that hole with something like requiring 2FA for each login.

It's not hard to automate 2FA. Especially if it supports offline google-style 2FA. But SMS are doable too.

the selenium-requests package offers a nice integration of this.

So, does this not apply to Pages? Only personal profiles? If it applies to pages too, it's going to break thousands upon thousands of post automations for publications.

Seems that everyday brings news that justifies me leaving FB.

I exclusively use FB, so I had automated posting of tweets (from my kids schools) to FB so I could stay in the loop.

Also at work we Tweeted Facebook activity.

I'll have to use Twitter now instead of just using Facebook. Is the hope from Facebook that people will just not bother with Twitter?

Why haven't Facebook notified us wrt business use that Tweets will no longer be pulled in?

Thank you. I wish I was considered common courtesy to not cross post. If I'm following you on more than one service then everytime I see your double or triple post you've effectively wasted my time.

Heck, I wish it was more common to consider if what you're posting is really worth interrupting all of your followers.

Yes, it's not the original title, but "How to use Twitter with Facebook" does not sum up well what changed.

The title is somewhat contradictory: "FB ends the ability to auto-post tweets to your profile" on an article about how to auto-post tweets to your FB profile.

The first section on the page is that this feature is going away. It was pretty self evident upon clicking the link.

Does this change impact the ability to programatically create ads? I seem to remember the Facebook API treating ads as a kind of shadow post on a page the last time I messed with it. If that is still the case, this could also force users into the Facebook UI for that functionality.

Facebook must be destroyed.

21st-century Carthage

It looks like MySpace v2.0

This going to encourage dark patterns like asking for Facebook username and password for apps that want to support automation.

For those who miss the functionality, you can use IFTTT for this: https://ifttt.com/search/query/facebook

I use it to post pictures to twitter whenever I post to instagram, but there's a lot of nice facebook <-> twitter functionality too.

I don't think so, ALL automated posting is blocked now ;(

I'm guessing they'll still allow automatic posting from Instagram

Sure, why not? They have full visibility and control over both sides of that transaction in a way they don't with other integrations.

Same reason Apple can use private APIs but no one else can.

I assume IFTTT would continue to be a good solution, no?

Nope, this breaks their automation as well. Facebook has basically removed posting ability to personal feeds from their API entirely.

My page is about to get a whole lot quieter now lol

Sounds like circling of the wagons to me, to reduce or prevent Facebook users from leaving the domain.

First Alex Jones. The this.

Way to go Facebook! /s

Too bad. My favorite part about Facebook was the false assertions that shooting victims were paid actors, and the never-ending torrent of twitter's recycled hashtag spam.

Good riddance. Got to leave more space for marketoid spam from Facebook pages. How dare an individual automate their posting and crowd out what's important.

What? Having social iteraction owned by a private quasi-monopoly means the monopoly can screw with how you interact with the world at will? Who could have guessed that?

Really, I don't understand how this is news. It's what was going to happen, everyone with half a brain has known that since facebook started being a thing, and anyone who cared could trivially avoid it. So how is it that there are still people who apparently care that this happens?

> Really, I don't understand how this is news. It's what was going to happen, everyone with half a brain has known that since facebook started being a thing

Just because something isn't a surprise to you, doesn't mean its not news. I know that wild fires will inevitably happen, but I'm happy that they are reported on the news.

> So how is it that there are still people who apparently care that this happens?

So how is it that there are still people who apparently don't realize that the 2B+ users of facebook don't know everything they know.

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