Facebook photo uploads vs Facebook status updates

Linking an app such as bitsofMine to an internet service is never boring. If you take Facebook, for example, we have to keep up with what thousands of Facebook’s internal developers are doing. And then there are millions of external developers, too. Luckily, most of our colleagues’ changes will never affect bitsofMine. But some of them will.

Let’s take, for example, Facebook status updates. Facebook status updates have always been different to Facebook photos. And sure, it’s quite straightforward to understand that a text status update isn’t a photo, right?

But why isn’t a Facebook photo posting also considered to be a status update? Good question. On a technical level, the answer is simple: Because photos and status updates are different objects with different identifiers and even different timestamps! (Sorry about the semi-techie gibberish) If an app has the right to access your Facebook photos, Facebook still requires a different access right for the app to access your status updates. Which is fair, because an app should only have access to that part of your data it really needs to do its job, right?

So far that distinction between status updates and photos hasn’t been causing much trouble from an app’s perspective: In most cases, a photo upload was a photo upload was a photo upload. And not a status update. In the odd cases, when a Facebook client used a photo also to update your status, however, some strange effects could kick in. For example, sometimes the photo collected “likes” that the status update didn’t collect – and vice versa. We can only guess, these strange effects made Facebook rethink their policy: Photo uploads via Facebook’s own clients now always appear to be duplicated as both photo uploads and status updates.

So why don’t you see any duplicates in your Facebook browser, you may ask? Because your browser most likely uses an API which gives access to everything in your feed: status updates, photos, links, likes, comments etc. And in this API, Facebook takes care of that duplication. 🙂

So why do you see duplicates in bitsofMine, you may ask? Because bitsofMine is using a different API that only gives it access to the data it really needs: Status updates, photos, and videos. And in this API, Facebook doesn’t flag any potential overlaps between status updates and photos. 🙁

But no matter what the underlying reasons are, the experience is not what we want you to have. Therefore, for our Windows 10 version of bitsofMine we came up with a filter that will take care of such “duplicates” from now on. Please note, that this approach will not eliminate any duplicates that you already have collected. Instead it should stop bitsofMine from collecting any presumed duplicates when going forward: If you have a new photo status update, it will only show up as an update once in the bitsofMine timeline.

And yes, you can already find our updated bitsofMine release in the Windows Store. We hope it does the trick for you.

Wishing you a great 2016!

PS Thanks to the user who brought this issue to our attention!