Facebook continues to tighten up some of the rules that govern how applications on the social network’s platform operate, giving users more control over what they allow and when, and making it easier for them to block “bad” applications and prevent the social-networking spam that has been piling up on Facebook over the past six months or so. Like Dare Obasanjo, I’m wondering why it took so long.
The worst thing about all the Zombie requests and movie quiz invites and all of that spam is that it comes from your friends. Occasionally I even find myself swearing under my breath at them (no, not you, Aunt Mabel) because they are so persistent — and then I realize that it’s not really their fault, and that the way many applications are set up, you are all but forced to invite people.
This is some of what Facebook is changing. Apps can’t force you to invite people before you get access to the results of your quiz or whatever the game is; it’s easier to block applications from sending any more invites; you can opt out of any emails sent by applications you’ve already added — and most important, the way an app behaves is based in part on your feedback. If you block or delete notifications from an app, it will find its ability to send those alerts curtailed.
This is something that had to happen — even if, as Allen Stern notes in a comment on TechCrunch, it means that the earliest apps such as SuperPoke and FunWall got a giant leg up over subsequent applications. There’s no question that people have been crying out for these kinds of changes: one group called “Pointless Applications Are Ruining Facebook” has close to half a million members.