Facebook attracts developers -- and controversy

Facebook offers developers generous revenue opportunities along with a fast-growing and deeply engaged community of people. However, this paradise is already getting soiled by self-promoting developers.

He blames this lack of communication for a situation that led Facebook to yank one of his company's applications from the site with, he says, nary an explanation and, in his view, without justification.

The application, designed to let members track visits to their profiles, received initial approval from Facebook, but then the company turned around and banned it because it lacked a feature Kirkland says they never told him would be required.

He's fuming that a similar application from a competitor continues on the site. "We were given no opportunity to alter the application, no warnings that they would do this, and my attempts at discussing the erroneous TOS reports with Facebook merely received generic replies," he wrote.

Aigboboh, of J-Squared Media, also sees room for improvement in communicating with developers. "The main issue we see is that Facebook doesn't allow its developer community to interact with Facebook itself very well," he wrote, adding that he suspects Facebook is aware of this and working to correct it.

On a related matter, Hungry Machine's O'Shaughnessy, echoing others interviewed, said Facebook could also do a better job of giving developers advance notice of changes on the platform back end that require applications to be adjusted.

Ultimately, most developers interviewed said they hope Facebook will rein in the overeager developers and smooth the other wrinkles in the program.

"The platform is still very young. As it matures, it'll get more robust and problems we experience today will start to go away," O'Shaughnessy says. "For the stage at which the platform is, we're pretty happy with it."

"The people behind the Facebook platform are very smart. I'm confident they will take more steps to improve this," iLike's Partovi said. "It's like the Wild West now, but I don't think the abuses will last very long."

Facebook didn't respond to several requests seeking comment for this story.

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