Top Friends, one of the most popular applications on the Facebook platform was shut down over a week ago. Many were speculating about the cause of the shut down including myself on this blog. Facebook shut down the application due to privacy violations which included random users being able to access other users’ profiles. As of this evening, the application is back up and running and according to the application’s statistics has over 1 million active daily users.
Many in the industry were shocked to hear that the application had been shut down given Slide’s position as the top application developer on the Facebook platform. After being down for over a week many were beginning to wonder if the application would ever return. The larger issue was whether or not Slide was storing data of users and if they were, how they were going to illustrate that to Facebook. The reality is that we will probably never know what exactly went down. All we will know is that Slide was clearly in violation of Facebook’s privacy policies.
One of the larger issues at hand is Facebook’s policing capabilities and whether or not their policing of applications is a scalable process. Can Facebook constantly monitor what is being displayed on applications? There is buzz in the industry that some companies are not exactly playing by the rules and the question at that point is how is Facebook going to determine what companies can build applications on their platforms and which ones can’t. For now, all we know if that Slide is back on good terms with Facebook since the Top Friends application is back up.
I have a feeling that this is not the last we will hear about Facebook taking down applications.