The Guardian has announced that it will be phasing out its Facebook app, directing users to its website instead. In a post on its site, the paper said that the Facebook app had been meant to "give us space to experiment away from the main Guardian website," and that as a result, more social features would be implemented on that site. "In the future, for example, users on our site may be able to 'agree' or 'disagree' with comment pieces, take part in polls or express their view on the likelihood of a football rumour coming true." Starting December 17th, clicking shared links on Facebook will lead to The Guardian rather than the app, until it's essentially phased out altogether. Users will still be able to log into The Guardian using their Facebook accounts.
"The key thing is that the user will be in control."
The switch seems to have happened partly because new social tools opened up for the main site, but also because The Guardian was unsatisfied with some of the platform's elements. "The key thing," product manager Anthony Sullivan writes, "is that the user will be in control and if they're not interested in sharing it will not impact on their experience of accessing our content on guardian.co.uk." That's an apparent swipe at Facebook's "frictionless sharing" ideal, in which articles are shared to friends as soon as they're read.
The Guardian was one of the first adopters of Facebook's Open Graph system, and the relationship still appears fairly strong. The Guardian touted rapid adoption of the social app, and Facebook has stated that "by integrating Facebook deep into guardian.co.uk and allowing readers to login with Facebook and share their activity with friends, the Guardian is once again demonstrating innovative ways to engage and grow audiences via the Facebook platform."