After temporarily removing his app from Google Play, the developer behind a 3rd-party Facebook app, called Swipe for Facebook, recently shared an experience he had with Facebook and the reason for the removal. Apparently, Facebook was not too happy with the app’s icon (pictured here), as well as the usage of the word “Facebook” in the app’s name, but failed to mention these specifics when it sent a startling email to the developer. The email indicated that unless certain “violations” were corrected, the app would be marked as restricted. Restricted means users of the app would be unable to access the Facebook servers to sign in. However, Facebook did not clarify which violations the developer had made, and according to the developer, Facebook did not respond to his initial reply regarding the violations until two days afterwards. By this time, it was already too late.
Before the developer knew what exactly was in violation, Facebook restricted the app. With that being done, anyone who downloaded the app from Google Play (free or paid version), would be unable to access Facebook. Given this is a Facebook app, that’s a major bump in the road. In order to stop any potential bleeding and negative reviews, the developer had to pull the app from Google Play until the issue was resolved. Thankfully for fans of this developer, he seems to know a few things about Facebook workarounds, and was able to republish the application sans the Facebook SDK. With the update available, users are again able to log into Facebook and use the app as they normally would.
With the developer going through what seems to be a massive amount of trouble to make his app compliant with Facebook’s developer terms, Facebook finally replied to the developer. As it turns out, Facebook had an issue with the app’s icon, name, and app description. According to Facebook, the “for Facebook” infringes on their IP. In order to resolve all issues, the developer ultimately had to remove Swipe for Facebook from his Facebook Developer Console, meaning any platform policies from the Developer Platform no longer apply. Long story short, crisis averted.
Being a user of Swipe for Facebook, it is really too bad from our perspective that developers are sometimes forced to go to such great lengths to offer their creations. Yes, developers must follow the rules, but saying an app is, “for Facebook” in the name does not seem too infringing to me.
In my opinion, the Swipe for Facebook app offers a much cleaner, faster Facebook experience than the official Facebook app has ever done. Maybe this is something Facebook takes offense to. Swipe for Facebook offers themes, better navigation, as well as a heavy dose of updates to include useful features. Most importantly, Swipe for Facebook is much more snappy than the official Facebook app, making it a win-win for my personal FB needs.
If you are one of the few that is not completely sick of Facebook, I recommend you check it out on Google Play and show the developer some love. After sharing his horror story on reddit for all to see, I think he deserves a bit.