Facebook, as all its company press releases maintain, is committed to continually bettering the site—in some cases, by attacking those meddling programmers who have tried to better it for themselves.
Over the past several years, Matt Kruse has developed a browser extension called Social Fixer, or SFX. It offers a host of features and improvements that Facebook may or may not ever implement, including theme displays, tabs and filters for your news feed, intuitive navigation panels, and even a tracker that will notify you of any “un-friending.”
Naturally, Kruse wrote in a blog post today, Social Fixer itself had a community page on Facebook: “Since my application is tightly integrated with Facebook, it’s only logical that I would use the site to build my community of users, provide support, and make important announcements,” he noted. “I am trying to make their site better, after all.”
But Facebook didn’t see things that way, and, without warning, “unpublished” the page devoted to Social Fixer, which according to Kruse had 338,050 likes. Gone, too, was his interest list, which had 1.47 million followers. In a sense, an entire community was wiped off the digital map.
The move was tightly coordinated, too, as Kruse explains:
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.
The official notice that came along with Social Fixer’s eviction stated that the page had violated community standards by posting spam. Kruse denied that charge, saying he avoids engagement manipulation and doesn’t try to game the news feed, but wasn’t able to formally defend himself—his only option was a single-click “Appeal” that Facebook seemed to ignore.
For now, there’s a “temporary” page where users can see updates about SFX, and the extension itself is still available and functioning. Kruse has urged fans to spread the news of his page’s unfair deletion, donate to the project, and complain to Facebook directly. The company is poised to find, as Tumblr did with the Missing E plug-in, that attempts to eliminate third-party tweaks can have the effect of promoting them instead.
Photo by Mark Kalan/Flickr