Facebook Shuts Down Human Pets

Human Pets, an application with over 50,000 active daily users, was shut down by Facebook due to pornographic pictures that were supposedly showing up within the application occasionally. Patrick Shyu, the developer of the application, was notified at 12 am in the morning and was given a 2 hour time frame to take down the photos or have the application removed. Patrick made a series of frantic emails to Facebook to keep the application up but was unsuccessful. This was in response to the following email from Facebook:

Hi Patrick,

We ask that you remove your application from the site until you have removed all pornographic content. Our pornographic policy is very strict and we gave you a deadline until now 11:00am pacific time Thursday 8 May 2008 and all pornographic content has not been removed from your application. Below are just a few URL links of content that violates our Platform Application Guidelines section I.1 (see http://developers.facebook.com/guidelines.php). We take this violation very seriously and will have to disable your application until you have fully complied with our policy, unless you take it down to remove the content.

[Links to 10+ pictures]

Sincerely,
Facebook Platform Developer Operations & Suppport

This is just one of many emails that were exchanged in a series of emails between Patrick and the development team. Patrick had apparently devised a system which enabled users to mark uploaded content as “adults only”. Facebook’s platform team was not in favor of this and after a substantial amount of back and forth the application was ultimately shut down. The problem was that when Patrick prevented users from uploading pornographic images, they revolted and ended up posting more making it impossible for the moderators to handle the volume.

Ultimately Patrick needs to make his application work if he is going to accept image uploads. I would argue that they should use the Facebook platform for uploading photos and as such the users who are uploading photos that violate the terms of service will be banned. I can’t currently access the application to see how it functions but here is where it used to be. It will be interesting to see if this application is added again or if it’s gone for good.