Forced Invites Get Shutdown

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By Nick O'Neill Comments

Last night Facebook updated their platform terms and sent out a message to all applications that were forcing invites in order to us an application. The update to their platform policy was as follows:

[Applications cannot] Present a user with a subsequent friend invite page if the user has already clicked a Facebook-rendered Skip, Cancel, or Skip This Step button, unless the user explicitly selects to invite friends from a page that offers more than just the friend invite option. If the application presents the user with a friend invite page that does not include a Facebook-rendered Skip, Cancel, or Skip This Step button, the application must offer some navigation option to leave the friend invite process, and the application must not present the user with a subsequent friend invite page unless the user explicitly selects to invite friends from a page that offers more than that single option.

Additionally, Facebook sent out the following letter to all users:

Dear developer,

Your application has been temporarily restricted from using requests/invites. This is because users of your application get trapped in a UI interaction for inviting friends.

If the user clicks the Facebook-rendered buttons “Skip” , “Cancel” , or “Skip This Step” , he must not be re-presented with an invite friends UI unless he explicitly selects to invite friends from a page that offers more than that single option. If you use another UI that does not have one of these buttons rendered by Facebook, the application must offer some other navigation option to leave the invite friends process, and the user must not be re-presented with an invite friends UI unless he explicitly selects to invite friends from a page that offers more than that single option.

If you correct this aspect of your application, the moratorium will be lifted. Please respond to this email once you have made the necessary changes and please include your application id for verification purposes.

If you wish to correspond, please reply to this message.

Thank you,

Facebook Platform Developer Operations & Support

Developers and users have been complaining about applications that use the forced invite strategy for months. It now appears that Facebook has finally taken action and has given little to no notice about this update. Applications that were found to be in violation were simply sent a notification that they can no longer send requests. This is an impressive step by Facebook and I think that users will welcome this new change.

I also think that we will immediately see a significant decrease in the growth of lower quality applications thanks to this policy change. Do you think this is a good change by Facebook?