A browser extension known as F.B. Purity is apparently impure when it comes to Facebook’s terms of service, as its developer claims to have been banned from the social network.
We wrote about F.B. Purity in September 2011, saying:
F.B. Purity, short for “Fluff-Busting Purity,” helps Facebook users filter out application spam (such as game notifications and quizzes) and select which boxes they want displayed on the right-hand side of their homepages, as well as adding the ability to hide the following Facebook features in its new release: ticker/happening now, the chat box, comments on event walls, comments and likes in top news, and questions.
The extension — available for Firefox, Google Chrome, Safari, and Opera — also adds a “delete recent activity” button to users’ profile pages.
The unnamed developer said the reasons for the ban were related to section 3.11 of Facebook’s terms of service, which reads:
You will not do anything that could disable, overburden, or impair the proper working or appearance of Facebook, such as a denial-of-service attack or interference with page rendering or other Facebook functionality.
Another issue is the fact that F.B. Purity does not connect with the social network via its application-programming interface.
The developer claimed that links to the F.B. Purity website are being blocked by Facebook as “spammy and unsafe,” and defended the browser extension in its post:
F.B. Purity does not directly access Facebook’s services, anyway: It is a browser extension, and, by definition, it “extends” the browser’s functionality. Therefore, it is actually the Web browser itself that is accessing Facebook, and Web browsers do not need an API key or license to access Facebook’s services, as Facebook is designed to run in a Web browser.
If a Facebook user chooses to download and use the F.B. Purity extension, it is entirely their own choice. I am not forcing them to download it and use it. Once they’ve installed it, F.B Purity gives the user options for customizing their own view of Facebook, which they can enable or disable to their own liking. If Facebook gave their users options to turn off the most annoying features of their user interface, then a product like F.B. Purity would not be necessary at all. The success and popularity of the extension is a surefire sign that something is not right with Facebook’s design in the first place.
Perhaps instead of punishing me by disabling my account and initiating legal proceedings against me, they should instead take heed of the discontent of Facebook users and offer them a browsing experience that won’t get them searching out third-party methods for switching off the site’s most hated and annoying features.
Facebook should be thanking me for helping them to retain their users, who, if they had not found this extension, would have abandoned the site a long time ago.
Readers: Where do you stand in this dispute?