Can't stand those annoying automated Facebook updates you get every time one of your friends plays a Facebook game or uses some app or another? Well, Facebook is cracking down on apps that constantly update on the walls and feeds of users' friends, and it's causing a number of apps to be shut down in the process.
The new app enforcement system now takes into account user feedback of certain apps. Apps that get enough complaints from users or are marked as spam in high numbers will either be disabled or have certain features shut down until the developer fixes the issue.
Facebook's statement is below:
"Over the past year, we've worked hard to improve our automated systems that catch spam and malicious behavior on the platform. These systems allowed us to cut spam on the platform by 95 percent in 2010, greatly increasing user satisfaction and trust with apps on Facebook. Recently, we started getting a lot of user feedback, spiking significantly over the past week, on the amount of application spam people are seeing in their feeds and on their walls. As a result, we turned on a new enforcement system yesterday that took user feedback much more heavily into account. This resulted in a number of applications with high negative user feedback being disabled or having certain features disabled. We've posted a link for developers where they can appeal if they feel they've been disabled in error. Also, we're working on new analytics to help developers better monitor negative user feedback to prevent a spike like this in the future."
So far, it doesn't seem as any music apps have been affected by the policy change. But it certainly did get a good degree of attention over the weekend, riling both developers and members of the press. While there's always been plenty of attention paid to Facebook's privacy policies and their affects on users, there's not been nearly as much attention paid to Facebook's power over developers that rely on the platform for distribution.
As Facebook gears up for its music initiative that among other things will notify friends each time a Facebook users plays a song or saves a playlist using any one of a number of participating music services, the reigning in the number of notifications other apps send seems like a smart move.
But it also means developers will need to be more judicious in how they take advantage of Facebook's social graph in their quest for spreading their brand and content.