Facebook Increases Application Requests Limit: More Virality, More Spam?

Facebook has updated its Requests Dialog with a few changes, including eliminating an unnecessary step, improving ease of implementation, and reducing the strictness of requests limit on users. Previously, users were sometimes limited to sending 20 or fewer requests or invites a day in order to prevent spam. Facebook says it will continue to improve its spam detections systems to ensure the limit change doesn’t degrade the user experience.

Facebook originally implemented the requests limit because they were being abused by developers and users were getting so many that they were ignoring them.

Facebook recently began testing use of the top navigation bar notifications channel for showing app requests, but the Developers Blog post says, “In some cases of requests that Facebook predicts to be very relevant based on the recipients usage and relationship to the sender, the recipient may be made aware using a notification jewel.”

This means Facebook may be scaling back the use of the notifications channel, which should come as good news to some gamers who say their social notifications about things like wall posts and photo tags have been drowned out by app requests. Receiving masses of invites and requests can turn-off gamers and non-gamers alike, so Facebook will need to be vigilant to prevent a return to the wild west days of rampant application spam, regardless of the channel they appear in.

The blog post implies that there is no limit, but the documentation says that if a developer doesn’t specify a ‘to' field, then users can only send 50 requests. It is unclear if this limit is per request flow or per day.

Developers can visit the new Requests Dialog documentation page for instructions on how to implement it. Facebook engineer Derek Brandao explains that “the dialog was designed to work for IFrame apps, and no longer requires server-side FBML”, making it easier to add to apps than the previous version.

Judging from preliminary tests and image from the documentation, it appears that the new Requests Dialog is already active in Zynga’s CityVille.