Last night, quietly, Facebook re-enabled Slide’s Top Friends App on Facebook. On June 26, exactly one week ago, Facebook removed the Top Friends App from its directory, citing “violations of their terms of service”. The App was no longer visible on users’ profiles, no longer accessible via canvas pages – it had just vanished from Facebook with no notice. The problem, Facebook said, was, according to InsideFacebook, “Top Friends was allowing access to non-friends’ personal information in a way that violated the TOS”. Last night it seems, again with no notice, the Top Friends App was finally made available again.
According to “tichwhack” in the Facebook developer forums, all installs remain intact, and not surprisingly, active user counts have gone down significantly at only 8,000 DAU. It will not be surprising to see that number go back up to where it was before over the next week or so.
Top Friends disappearing is just one of several Applications on Facebook that was removed with little notice by Facebook, in a recent crackdown on spamminess and TOS violations they seem to be doing. About a month or two ago, Facebook removed the Google FriendConnect App (which I mentioned earlier), and still has yet to provide a very good explanation other than “they are violating the Terms of Service”. Justin Smith of InsideFacebook mentioned just a few days ago that the “Social Me” App was also removed recently for similar reasons. That was also in addition to a few other Apps by the same developer which were removed at the same time.
The removal of such large and important Applications should make every developer on Facebook take note. Facebook is not going to just sit idly by and let developers violate their terms of service! Developers must take care to read the Facebook developers terms of service very carefully and make sure there is no question or their Application too could be at risk.
This is only the third large Application to be removed for TOS violations on Facebook. I would fully expect there to be more. In the end, while scary for developers this is a refreshing thing to see, in hopes that Facebook will be a better, less spammy, and more secure place to be.
Note: You spoke, I listened! Last night, Facebook was the clear winner on what you wanted to hear about next – let me know your thoughts and comments below!
UPDATE: It appears that Facebook has also upped their invitation limit to 40 – more spam for all!