There are thousands of Facebook apps on the platform now, and it seems that half of them are out to pollute your timeline with all kinds of message spam. Some apps even take it upon themselves to use your timeline to advertise the product. This is annoying. You know it, I know it, and as it turns out, so does Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. Updated with response from Chill below.
In this conversation, posted on The New York Observer, in the timeline of early Facebook employee Dave Morin, Zuckerberg expresses his disbelief that the app ‘Chill‘, a community video sharing app that uses Facebook connect, took it upon itself to use Morin’s timeline to post that Chill was ‘awesome’. In Zuckerberg’s words “They auto-post something saying their app is awesome coming from you? That’s Lame.”
The comments came after Zuckerberg asked if the app had posted the message or if Morin, one of Zuck’s friends on Facebook, had posted it himself. The issue that Zuckerberg has with the post is spelled out in a comment by Morin.
They posted it. Pretty lame that the[y] used my voice. That used to be against policy.
As more apps adopt Facebook as a place to engage with users, the issue of apps using you as a megaphone for their own opinions, especially about themselves, is only going to get bigger. It’s bad enough that every third Facebook status update is about Mafia’s or Farmville’s, but having an app co-opt your timeline in attempt to make it seem like you’re recommending it to your friends is the worst.
With developers in over 190 countries building apps, the catalog has grown immensely in recent years. Over 20 million applications are installed on Facebook every day. This makes it incredibly difficult to police the apps that appear on the platform, allowing some with questionable activity and practices to sneak through. Facebook has taken action on this in the past, instituting the ability to block applications directly from an app request and, by turns, getting tough on spam apps and backing off when developers complain.
It looks like Mark Zuckerberg shares your frustration with the way that apps spam messages into your timeline, this is good news as hopefully he’s going to be annoyed enough about it to crack down on lame apps like Chill.
Update: Andre Skotzko of Chill has contacted us to let us know that they have removed the feature of Chill that posted to people’s timelines and that Chill has spoken to Mark Zuckerberg and the Facebook Platform team about the app’s timeline behavior.
So what are we going to do? We’ve already removed this feature. Why? We want there to be no question about our motives. We’re a small startup obsessed about building something that people really love. Video should be more social, immersive and fun.
I’ve already messaged Mark and let him know about the changes. He was actually really cool about the whole issue, which I appreciate.
So, no harm done in this case, lets hope that more apps follow Chill’s lead. Chill has the statement up here on its blog about the issue.