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Hey guys, I work on anti-spam at FB (though not specifically platform) and just looked into this. It looks like their app was disabled for pre-filling content so that it looks like users typed it, which makes for a super spammy experience and is explicitly against our ToS. They were disabled within policy (and the reason was communicated to them - check out the OP at http://www.nimitkumar.in/?p=196).

The vanity URL "videocalling" wasn't reclaimed until June, and I'm pretty sure was completely unrelated to this app being disabled. If we wanted it for our own use, we would have been up-front about that, not done some roundabout make-up-an-excuse-and-kill​-an-innocent-app tomfoolery that the poster is suggesting.

Besides, it'd be a gigantic waste of time to build marketing pages 3 months before a product launch given how fast things change even in the week or two prior to a launch.

All that being said, we're working pretty hard on improving the developer experience when an app is found to be in violation of policies. This isn't something I work on directly, so I don't wanna go shooting my mouth off, but check out https://developers.faceboo​k.com/blog/post/521/ for some background.

If things are as you say, then we may have jumped to conclusions and judged Facebook unfairly on this particular matter. However, I'd say jumping to conclusions is to be expected, given Facebook's track record. I long ago stopped giving FB the benefit of the doubt, considering the many questionable and thoughtless actions in its past. FB has a long way to go in recovering the goodwill it has lost (from me and surely from others).

(BY the way, I have not watched "The Social Network" or formed any opinions on FB based on that movie. My opinions are strictly based on news articles and my personal experience with the service.)

Sad to hear we've lost your faith :-/. Hopefully we can build it back, though I know it's often hard to change one's feelings about things.

I'm curious what you think we've done that's particularly questionable or thoughtless. I think a lot of memes ("facebook sells your data to advertisers!") are just plain wrong, and if you think about them for a while you realize they make no sense (we'd clearly stand to gain more by not giving anyone access to it and only allowing advertisers to target things with various criteria, then handling the assignment of ad to user internally, without leaking any data). A lot of other issues are just more nuanced, and it drives a lot more clicks to posit some sensationalist conspiracy theory than to discuss the complexities behind a situation.

I try not to discuss anything on here that I don't directly work on, so bear in mind that I may not be able to address any of your concerns.

I'll oblige your curiosity. Here's what comes to mind right now...

The sin that takes the cake was Facebook's attempted smear campaign against Google:


I can't currently remember other acts on a similarly questionable level. Most don't sink that low, and are "only" irresponsible, such as allowing newly-created accounts to be used without first verifying the user's e-mail address:


(Was this security hole ever closed?)

Facebook is a pioneer in on-line human interaction, and a reckless one at that (not a good thing). Privacy is one area in particular where FB keeps pushing the boundaries and exposing its users to new dangers. Is the company clueless about its users' privacy needs? Are FB's goals at cross-purposes with its users' goals? It's hard to tell which of the two is a better-fitting explanation.

Other FB actions aren't evil or irresponsible, but are still careless. One type of carelessness is FB's willingness to throw away users' valuable information. For example, FB has been announcing its intention of wiping out membership information for old Groups as it archives them. Does FB really think this is in users' best interest? (I value the Groups I've joined through the years, and most of them will apparently have their membership lists purged. This is not the only case where information I value was/will be destroyed by Facebook.)

Another sign of careless is FB's apparent unresponsiveness to user feedback. I understand that it's hard to be responsive with a 1 : 250,000 employee-to-customer ratio. I understand that many aspects of customer service would need to be automated. However, because of this, FB needs to be very careful about how and what it automates, as exemplified by stories like this one:


Incidentally, I really appreciate the fact that you are personally responding to FB-related complaints. Keep it up! (I hope you don't become too discouraged.) Make no mistake, I've greatly enjoyed using Facebook and derive great benefit from the service. However, actions like the ones I've mentioned chronically fuel my distrust of and annoyance at Facebook.

> If we wanted it for our own use, we would have been up-front about that

With all due respect, are you really in a position to say that with any kind of authority?

The first post you linked to goes on to say "We obviously did not 'pre fill' any fields without any user action."

Is there any evidence you can provide our ridiculous INTERNET COURT that they did?

It looks like this app was both automatically classified and manually verified by a person as violating the terms, and I trust that there wouldn't be a double failure in that regard.

I'm hesitant to speculate at all since, as you hint, this could quickly devolve into an unproductive he-said / she-said squabble.

While working for a social-game maker, I've been wrist-slapped for a game that ostensibly pre-filled fields. After multiple internal reviews failed to find the offending form/screen, we finally reached out to our facebook contact (thankfully, the company I was working for was important enough to have one).

It turned out that we pre-filled the name of the user's town (this was a city-building game) with "Firstname's Town". Changing this to a blank field wrecked our funnel, but heh.

Point I'm trying to make is, it's often hard to tell what/if you're doing wrong, when you get a rejection like that.

In the link you provided to the OP's website, right after quoting the FB email, he writes:

We obviously did not “pre fill” any fields without any user action.

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