How is Quora Able to Auto-Like Posts on Facebook?

I’ve been contemplating a way to get Facebook like buttons to work with a brand’s own look and feel, so when you like it on a 3rd party site, it automatically likes the same Page (via Open Graph Protocol) on Facebook.  This would be a User Experience Designer’s dream come true, especially those that I work with in my day job trying to design stuff that works with Facebook.  Today I remembered that there is a site that is doing just that: Quora.  The problem is there is no API method that currently allows Facebook developers to send “likes” to URLs or Pages on Facebook.

Right now on Quora when you click “up” on any answer on Quora, if you’ve associated a Facebook account with your Quora account you have the option, in your settings, to also “like” the page for the answer on Facebook.  Doing so shows a post in the news feed that says something like “so and so likes such and such an answer on Quora”, linking back to the answer on Quora.  The likes, via Facebook’s Graph API also go up with that click.  This auto-posting is probably also helping to contribute to Quora’s massive growth in such a short period of time.

I thought I’d try to hack it to see if I could figure out what Quora is doing.  I’m pretty sure they’re getting special access by Facebook to do it.  Right now when I send a “POST” method call to https://graph.facebook.com/likes, with http://pathtoanyurl.com in a “url” parameter (and a working, offline_mode, access token), I get a message back from Facebook that says, “App must be on whitelist”.

I’m assuming Quora is on a special whitelist for Facebook to be able to auto-like posts via Facebook’s API, something most developers on Facebook Platform aren’t allowed to do.  This would make a lot of sense, considering Quora’s own founders were also some of the original founders of Facebook and most likely have very close ties with the service and its employees.

Now I just want to know, how can I get this whitelist access?

If you have a better answer, answer here, on Quora of course!

8 thoughts on “How is Quora Able to Auto-Like Posts on Facebook?

  1. Great observation, Jesse. This would certainly be a brand's dream, but also seems like it would open up a potential can of worms for all kinds of abuse — so I can see why they've kept it relatively unavailable.

    Like

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