At Facebook’s core is the social graph: people and the connections they have to everything they care about. When people use Facebook, they share their stories. These stories bring people closer together and help build relationships online and in the real world.
When people use apps online or on their mobile devices, they create even more stories: the music they listen to, the movies they see, the television programs they watch, the styles they love, the routes they jog, and so on.
Apps that connect to the Facebook Open Graph enable people to share their stories with their friends. When friends see these stories, they have an opportunity to download or engage with the app, thereby driving distribution of the app itself.
How Open Graph Works
After a person adds your app to their Timeline or downloads an app that integrates with Open Graph, app specific actions are shared on Facebook via the Open Graph. As your app becomes an important part of how people express themselves, these actions are more prominently displayed throughout Timeline, News Feed and Ticker. This enables your app to become a key part of the Facebook experience for people and their friends.
Building an Open Graph App
The Open Graph allows apps to model a person’s activities based on actions and objects. A running app may define the ability to “run” (action) a “route” (object). A reading app may define the ability to “read” (action) a “book” (object). A recipe app may define the ability to “cook” (action) a “recipe” (object). Actions are verbs that people perform in your app. Objects define nouns that the actions apply to.
We created sets of actions and objects for common use cases (we call these “common actions” and “common objects”) and a tool for you to create your own custom actions and objects. As people engage with your app, social activities are published to Facebook that connect the person with your objects, via your actions.
In practice, actions are published through Facebook, while objects are typically (though, not always) web pages that you host and that contain special meta tags. For example, the “pin” action from Pinterest refers to a web page (the “object”) hosted on the Pinterest website.
Benefits of Using Open Graph
With the Open Graph, your app becomes a part of a person’s identity and social graph. Through a single API, you can deeply integrate into key points of distribution on Facebook such as Timeline, News Feed, Ticker and App Tabs. You’ll be able to recruit more people to your app and create a deep, persistent connection between them and your app.