Facebook Dystopia

I’m sick of Facebook. The noise and annoyance, the confusing permissions, the beta-intrusions into privacy and the rest are bad enough.

But what really chafes me about it is the Facebook Apps framework. I’m in full agreement with this post about Facebook, except that I’m not going to blame the developers that much.

The developers of FB apps are just doing what developers are going to do when given a system that doesn’t encourage better behavior. Facebook could’ve made the framework much more responsible, so that it enforced some good-neighbor rules. A few tweaks that could’ve made all the difference.

What angers me most about it aren’t persnickety user-experience complaints, but the fact that it’s fouling up the ability to communicate and “play” with friends and colleagues, it’s crossing signals and screwing with expectations. I don’t know if I’m offending someone by declining to play a game with them, because I don’t know if the app tricked the user into accidentally inviting a hundred people to use the app and I’m just one more. I don’t know if I want to use an app or not because so many are so poorly designed, and the system gives me no way to know what users are saying about the app.

Unlike Linked-In, FB cheapens the ties that it helps me make socially, by allowing philistines to use them for these viral shenanigans. They drummed up the hype, led people to believe they’d be millionaires if they just got enough people to sign up for an app, and essentially got out of the way of the stampede.

Author: Andrew Hinton

I use information to architect better places for humans. More at andrewhinton.com.