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Facebook urge apps developers to focus on user experience

Rachel Hawkes (Social Media Portal) - 17 January 2008

Due to an ‘anomalously high level of user complaints’ Facebook are restricting the ability for applications to update the News Feed and Mini-Feed to those applications Facebook deem are ‘engaging in deceptive or malicious behaviour.’  The restriction will be effective immediately.

The announcement was made on the Facebook Developers Blog today.  Paul Jeffries, part of the Facebook Platform team says, “The vast majority of the Facebook developer community is well-intentioned and unlikely to ever be impacted by an enforcement action; we strive to work with developers to correct any issues we discover. But where necessary, as today, we will act quickly to correct problems and ensure a better Facebook Platform experience for all.”

A blog entry on 01 January 2008 sheds more light on the problems that the Facebook Platform team have been experiencing since opening up the platform.  The post called ‘New Year. New Rules’ says, “On occasion we've seen applications deceiving or tricking users by putting links into Mini-Feed, notification, and notification Email communications which link to the installation of a different app in a similar way.  Thus, tricking the user into installing an application which they didn't intend to.”

Subsequently, the ability for developers to include links to other applications in Mini-Feeds and notifications (both within the site and sent via email) was blocked so that developers could (in the words of Facebook), “focus on user experience… not engaging users for the sake of growth.”

The announcement today follows Facebook changing the way user profiles are managed, to make it easier for people to “un-clutter” their site from the growing number of applications being added.  This move was made after a large number of complaints from users who were finding their friends sites hard to follow (because of the number of applications).

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