Implicit vs. Explicit Posts on Facebook: are my posts going to be penalized?

True or False:

As of May 28th, any Facebook Post that was posted from a Third Party App will be penalized by Facebook and will no longer show as often on Newsfeeds. 

The Answer is: 


Allow us to explain.

If you use Facebook to promote your business, you very likely saw a post similar to this recently: 

If that post were strictly true, anything you posted to Facebook from Shareist and other similar apps that help you schedule posts would be penalized. This is not the case. 

Facebook identifies two different types of posts that come from Third Party Apps: implicit and explicit. 

The easiest way to understand the difference between them is to remember that explicit posts are designed to create an immediate social interaction with friends. Implicit posts are more about defining a person's identity. (source)

In other words, explicit posts are when you want a post to appear on your Facebook feed and you deliberately do so through a third party app. The app will have some sort of "Post this to Facebook" feature in the interface.

So, if you've collected information into your Shareist inbox and directed Shareist to share that information to Facebook, that is an explicit post.

Explicit posts will NOT be penalized.

"Explicitly shared actions are eligible to appear as stand-alone stories in the news feed, and they'll appear consistently on the left side of the timeline. Explicitly shared stories will always be shared in the news feed of the person who shares them." (source)

Explicit Posts to Facebook, such as posts from Shareist, will NOT be penalized.

Implicit Posts occur when you've given permission to an app to post to Facebook for you without you having to do anything other than use the app. You would have given the app permission when you signed up for the app. You clicked something that looked like this: 

When you listen to a song, Spotify, the app shares what you are listening to on Facebook. You do not have to direct it to so each time, it's automated. 

Facebook defines implicit posts as

"...activities that happen naturally in the flow of your app that you may want to publish but which people may not want to highlight explicitly on the timeline. These could be actions like listening to a song or reading an article." (source)

Other examples of Implicit Posts:

  • Actions that occur naturally in an app, such as listening, reading, watching and using
  • Lightweight social buttons, such as like, love, favorite and save
  • Low-signal activities that happen in bulk, such as following, friending and passing
  • Functional parts of game play, such as playing, earning, building and gifting

These types of automated posts will no longer show up on your timeline, or the timelines of your friends and fans. 

Here are some examples of implicit posts. They have actions like "listened to" and "liked", and are posted automatically without the user taking any specific action.

And you may be saying to yourself, I never really saw these in people's newsfeeds anyway. 


Also, don't judge Scott on his taste in music.

How Does Facebook Know if a Post is Implicit or Explicit?

Whether a post is implicit or explicit depends on the method that the developer uses to create the post.

There's a basic newsfeed post, that's designed to create an actual profile and newsfeed posts. These are always considered explicit and are intended to be used the same way as if you were posting a status directly to Facebook.

There are also Actions which represent other activities like reading, eating, liking, commenting, etc. These are assumed to be implicit unless the developer specifies otherwise.

When a developer is creating an app that is allowed to post to Facebook for you, they have to set parameters that tell Facebook how users will use the app. Developers are responsible for defining whether an app creates implicit or explicit posts. 

They may only use the explicit parameter "in the instances where a person using [the] app clearly intends to share activity on Facebook." (source)

Apps that schedule posts to Facebook like Shareist, Hootsuite, and Buffer use the basic newsfeed Post method, which is always explicit. You can see this in that the posts created by Shareist and other scheduling apps appear just like status updates. These apps are largely unaffected by this change.

Bottom line: Rest easy if you are a business that uses apps to post to your social media. You will remain unaffected by this change!

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