It's yet another example of how a benign and popular app created by a third-party developer can be removed without recourse from the emerging walled-garden computing spaces we're allowing ourselves to be led into.
Why did Facebook remove the app? Mostly because it could. Possibly for the unforgivable crime of allowing a Facebook member to somewhat customize how Facebook displays on their own computer.This
from the FOSSforce website:
Facebook Permanately Deletes Social Fixer’s Page
More bad news for Matt Kruse, the developer of the popular Social Fixer plugin that gives users some control on how their Facebook displays on their computer, as well as giving them some special features.
I told you on September 3rd that the plugin’s Facebook page had been removed without warning. At that time, Mr. Kruse was in the process of “appealing” Facebook’s decision–if that’s the proper word. While the social site did offer-up a button to click to request that Facebook reconsider their opinion, that was it. No text box to plead one’s case was offered.
As of yesterday, the page has been completely removed for violating “community standards.”
The Social Fixer destination on Facebook was quite popular. According to Mr. Kruse, the page had over 338,000 “likes.” In addition, Social Fixer has a Facebook Support Group with over 13,000 members, where users can get help with technical issues. A Social Fixer Facebook news page has 1.47 million followers.
In early September when the page was first removed, supposedly for “spamming,” Mr Kruse seemed confident the issue would be resolved and the page would eventually again be operational. As of yesterday, however, the page has completely disappeared. Visitors who attempt to visit the site are greeted with the notice: “Sorry, this page isn’t available. The link you followed may be broken, or the page may have been removed.”
On the Social Fixer website, Mr. Kruse writes that he doesn’t know why Facebook removed his page. He’s certain of one thing, however, it’s not because he’s a spammer...
What makes the story even more interesting is that not only was the Social Fixer
app (along with its webpage) removed, but the app creator's login (along with his wife's!) was also blocked.
That wasn’t the only action taken by Facebook when they permanently removed the page yesterday:
“Not only did they remove the page, but they also blocked my personal account from posting anything for 12 hours (I can’t even Like anything). They also did the same for anyone who was an Administrator or Moderator of the Page – including my wife’s personal account! Members of the support team, who generously volunteer their time to help users, have been shut out as well. They did one big sweep, I guess.”
Shutdown, removed from a catalog with no explanation or opportunity for any real appeal process, blocked from replying or even communicating - such is the brave new world of online services - and the environment in which the service users and software developers are finding themselves increasingly in.
It's been said many times before, but it's still worth repeating: If you're not the company's customer - you're the company's product.