Facebook Custom Stories

Have you ever wondered how developers update Facebook status like ‘Max is reading Bible’ using Mobile or Web Application. This is possible with the use of Facebook Custom Stories. Facebook Custom stories offers two types of actions : standard and custom.

Facebook Opengraph stories can be created by creating following basic components.

  1. App Namespace
  2. Custom Object
  3. Custom Action
  4. Open Graph Story

App Namespace

Namespace must be unique and it would used in code for actions and objects. Once namespace is set up properly you will be able to create, publish, read and update custom actions and objects.

Manage Objects

Go to developer section of Facebook and open the dashboard of the app for which you want to add objects. Go to Open Graph > Object Types section to add options. Here you can define objects of type URL, String, Locale etc.  Object can be singular or plural. It can be inherited from other objects. You can set inherits from to location(place) or business. You can add more property for flexibility as standard properties can’t be modified or deleted. You can also use entire object as property of other object.

Manage Actions

Actions would be represented only in English. For action also like objects you can add custom properties. Action would be generally represented with English verbs. One can add following custom action types for Actions like Graph API URL, Unique Action, Require App Token to Publish and Geographic Restrictions.

Associate action with objects

Here you are configuring your story with the help of Add Custom Story option. Put various tenses(English) for the type of action you want to add e.g.  voted, is voting, are voting, vote.


Attachments will help you set how the action would be displayed in News Feed and Timeline. With attachment you can create the graphical layout of the story when it would be added by user using the action.

App Attribution

This option would help you set whether you want to display using xxxx app or via xxxx app.

For custom types options like Reading and Publishing are available.

What more you can do with Custom Stories on Facebook

Facebook provides following options with Custom stories to add more features

Action Tagging(can tag other users), User Messages (user can write personalized message), User Generated Photos(user can take pictures and add), Place(can add physical location) and Explicitly Shared(this would specify if the user has explicitly shared action or not)

Best Practices for Facebook Custom Stories

  1. Create custom action only if its not offered by Facebook. Use Open Graph as much as you can.
  2. The action you want to offer should not be same as Like and Comment already provided by Social Publins.
  3. Use a test users while your Facebook app is in review
  4. Action must be very clear and not confusing to the app user.
  5. Use Proper English grammar and make sure verbs are combined properly together.

Common Action List

For Book App it would be read, rate, wants to read or quote, for Fitness App it would be walk, run, bike, for Music app it would be create a playlist and listen etc.

For publishing Actions you would set Share dialog for Web, iOS and Android Platforms. Actions can be managed using App Dashboard and with the use of Facebook APIs.

Utpal Betai

Business Analyst & Project Manager, Training and Learning

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