Over the past couple days Facebook has been shutting down a large number applications due to changes to the automated platform monitoring system.
This morning many developers took to the Facebook dev forums to complain about the issue. We’ve also had a few developers reach out to us directly on the issue. One developer wrote in the forum that “a developer friend of mine got his app back today after 6 days of disable.”
The most significant issue is that many applications with tens of thousands of daily active users go mostly unnoticed by Facebook since they are small in comparison to large applications like Zynga’s, which have millions of daily users.
The large applications that we’ve heard about being shut down includes Photo Effect, Social Interview, and Good Reads, although many more are complaining about the issue.
One of the Facebook engineers has already acknowledged the issue via a hacker new post and says that he’s working on fixing the issue. Eugue, the Facebook developer continued:
We’ve been getting a lot of user feedback recently, spiking significantly over the past week, on the amount of application spam people are seeing in their feeds and on their walls. 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. In particular, many applications were disabled which posted to the walls of other users and had very high mark-as-spam numbers.
My apologies for the suddenness of the action. The numbers were high enough to cause a real loss of trust in applications, which can impact the entire platform. Where we have failed is not providing enough feedback about negative engagement metrics to developers before needing to take this action. This is something we are working hard to fix with the new Application Insights that will be launching over the next few weeks – you will have detailed information about both positive and negative engagement of the content your application generates.
If you think you have been disabled in error, you should have received an email to your application’s contact email address with a link to appeal. Just in case, the appeal link is https://www.facebook.com/help/contact.php?show_form=dev_disable_appeal.
We’ll be sure to post any updates if we hear anything more from the company.
Facebook reached out to us with the following statement which is similar to the Facebook engineer from earlier:
“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.”