Facebook has removed another point of disconnect between its desktop legacy and mobile future. Those “like” buttons that have proliferated on the web are now coming to third-party mobile apps in the form of automated actions.
Facebook announced a new built-in feature for the Open Graph that enables users to automatically share their likes from an integrated mobile app to their Facebook timeline. The move effectively extends the reach of Facebook’s popular sharing mechanism to third-party mobile apps for the first time.
Mobile app developers can now uniquely incorporate Facebook’s traditional like button into their apps by mirroring the functionality through whatever means they currently give users to share content. The new like action for mobile gives developers the ability to use their own buttons – Foursquare and Tumblr use hearts, for example – and allow users to automatically share those likes on Facebook if they authorize the app to share content back to Facebook.
“While the Like button is a great way to let friends share content from the web back to Facebook, the like action enables you to build your own like buttons for your mobile or web app and drive distribution across Facebook,” Andrew Rothbart, an engineer at Facebook, wrote in a June 20 blog post announcing the new function.
Considering that a significant portion of new Facebook users come from mobile devices, the amount of likes flooding Facebook feeds will grow exponentially as more developers leverage the Open Graph.