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This article was published on March 25, 2010

Facebook Bullies Small-time App Developer

Facebook Bullies Small-time App Developer

Yet another small apps developer is feeling the pinch from a big company, this time from Facebook.

Fluff-Busting Purity, a Greasemonkey script that removes annoying notifications from Facebook apps like Farmville, Mafia Wars and the like from users news feeds, is under attack from Facebook for undisclosed reasons. The app is a browser plugin, which means Facebook should not have control over it. After all, if you have Adblocker Plus installed, banner ad companies shouldn’t be able to demand that you uninstall it.

These actions are confusing, heavy-handed and absolutely absurd.

Facebook could rightly be concerned with keeping its core user experience intact. However, this app actually does more to preserve the core user experience than it does to change it. Since third-party apps have started to irritate users to no end (why should I care what someone I barely know is doing in Farmville), this app is a welcome change to what is rapidly becoming an annoying user experience.

Facebook’s ostensible reason for repeatedly threatening to take the developer’s site down and deleting the fan page for this app twice is a trademark infringement. The app’s original name was Facebook Purity, which makes facebook’s initial displeasure here totally understandable. However, the app’s name has changed to resolve that. Last time I checked, Facebook didn’t own patents on the letters F and B.

This is becoming a disconcerting trend. It’s not entirely impossible to understand why companies like Apple and Facebook deny applications that run on their closed systems. However, once they start trying to control users’ browsers, they’ve simply gone too far.