Facebook Open Graph API

by Jason L
Businesses and developers have been trying to jump on the Facebook bandwagon for years.  When Facebook started allowing businesses to have Facebook pages that users could “like”, business had to constantly update their page and relied on the news feed to gain traffic.  However, Facebook kept changing the way content was displayed and taking away traffic from these pages

Facebook Connect was born and allowed users to connect to a site/app using their Facebook credentials in a trusted environment.  This also gave users control over what information they were willing to share.  This just paved the way for what we now know as Facebook Open Graph  (Morin, 2008).

facebook connect

(Image obtained from http://www.hostagemedia.net)

The Facebook Open Graph API now allows users to draw on the Facebook database, by use of queries known as FQL queries, and use information that Facebook users post to better their applications.  It also allows applications to post directly to the user’s timeline.  This is going to allow a whole new opportunity for developers to connect with their users and allow them to share information (Bautista, 2011)

(Image obtained from https://developers.facebook.com)


Chances are that everyone with an active Facebook account has used an application that connects using this API.  Websites such as Yelp, Pinterest, Chegg, and Rotten Tomatoes all make use of it.


(Image obtained from http://www.techcrunch.com)



  • Developers can implement it using only a couple lines of HTML code
  • Can share online or offline
  • Gives users option to share what they want


  • All routes must go through Facebook
  • Facebook decides what apps are appropriate

Bautista, N. (2011, December 1). Wrangling with the Facebook Graph API | Nettuts+. Retrieved
April 22, 2013, from
Constine, J. (2012, January 18). Pinterest and 60 Others Demo Open Graph Sites + Apps That
Auto-Publish To Facebook | TechCrunch. TechCrunch. Retrieved April 21, 2013, from

Jackson, J. (2012, July 6). Facebook Touts Open Graph Versatility | PCWorld. Retrieved April
22, 2013, from
Morin, D. (2008, May 9). Announcing Facebook Connect. Facebook Developers. Retrieved
April 22, 2013, from
Siegler, M. (2009, October 29). With Open Graph, Facebook Sets Out To Make The Entire Web
Its Tributary System | TechCrunch. TechCrunch. Retrieved April 21, 2013, from

What Facebook’s Open Graph Means for Your Website. (2010, April 26). Retrieved April 21,
2013, from http://www.bluefountainmedia.com/blog/facebook-open-graph/

7 thoughts on “Facebook Open Graph API

  • April 29, 2013 at 5:08 pm

    Very well written Jason. I know that it must have been very difficult finding information on the Facebook Open Graph API from what you told me. I was wondering if the Facebook ‘promote’ button is part of the Facebook Connect? Since companies can use Facebook Connect to promote/advertise for their company I was just curious if that was a part of the Facebook Open Graph API/Facebook Connect.

  • April 29, 2013 at 5:23 pm

    Excellent blog post and presentation. As a side comment, I have always been a little confused as to why Facebook would call this API the Open Graph API and have it be all-encompassing to everything Facebook offers. Seems a little non-sequittur.
    Another issue I have is in the nature of Facebook (and similar internet giants like Google) and their redirection, which pauses briefly on a blank page on Facebook.com (again, or Google.com), before continuing to the desired site. I am curious if usage of this API will do that also, or if Facebook will stop trying to collect every imaginable statistic of our entire lives always for a millisecond. Thoughts?

  • May 1, 2013 at 12:16 pm

    I kind of like this feature and kind of not. It makes the life easy for users to not to sign in and fill out the subscription forms for most of the websites but also I don’t like the way that Facebook post all the activities and apps that I use on my Timeline. There are applications or website that when I log in to them I don’t want to my friends to know about it. It is kind of keeping away the users privacy.

  • June 4, 2013 at 11:51 am

    Before reading your blog I had no idea that Facebook Query Language even existed, it sounds almost like a joke, but I have seen sites that allow you to log in using credentials for Facebook, and now I can see why that is. I don’t particularly like the idea, I use Facebook to interact with friends and family, not to log into websites that show that to the world, but I can certainly see how it would be convenient. The added benefits it can give to developers does seem useful though. While the blog was a bit short, I can understand that there probably isn’t very much information on the topic.

  • June 8, 2013 at 3:47 pm

    It amazes me the lengths that FaceBook as gone to expand their reach. I don’t have one, but I know others spend several hours a week on this site, and this feature seems to just make it harder to get away from this phenomenon. Your blog was brief and to the point, giving me just enough information to continue reading if I wish to or just leave it as is and still know enough to cary a conversation. Good job.

  • June 8, 2013 at 8:19 pm

    Nicely written blog Jason! While I get developers are trying to improve their business through FQLs it’s also annoying how, when we use an application, the activity is posted into our timeline. I like to keep my personal activities private most of the time, so when something like this happens I would go out of my way to hide these timeline posts. I’m not sure if there’s an option to turn that feature off (I guess it depends on the business) but I guess this is also a good way of link building/sharing. Anyway, this was a nice read!

  • June 10, 2013 at 11:01 am

    Nice blog, Jason! Facebook Open Graph API seems nice as it’s a database that businesses can use to collect information about their users, but at the same time, as you said, everything must go through Facebook. That’s the downside I dislike the most as you’d have to go through Facebook and they can easily deny you.

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