The Defriended app was released earlier this week. It had a pretty simple function: to figure out who “defriended” you on Facebook. This is a function that’s not available on either Facebook’s website or theiPhone app, and the practice is common enough that the synonym “unfriend” was named New Word of the Year by the New Oxford American Dictionary, so this app obviously had appeal for those who wonder why they don’t see updates for certain people any more.
It was a simple hack: Defriended used Facebook Connect to import your friends list when you first run it, and then checks for changes each time you run the app. Any additions go on the “New friends” list, while missing friends are listed as “Defriended.”
Unfortunately for them – and for the developer iDoodz – this use is a clear violation of Facebook’s Developer Principles and Policies:
|You must not circumvent our intended limitations on core Facebook features. For example:
On Tuesday, some users reported that the app gave them an “Invalid API key specified: The application you are trying to access does not exist or has been disabled” error, and Facebook gave a statement to Mashable’s Samuel Axon on Wednesday that that the app had blocked for the policy violation. “While we cannot remove an application running on another website or platform, we will ensure that applications that access Facebook user data adhere to Facebook Platform policies,” the spokesman said.
Finally, Apple removed Defriended from the App Store; without giving a reason, but presumably due to pressure from Facebook. The i-Doodz website currently shows the following message:
|Last week our developer was bored one evening, had an idea, and a few hours later uploaded the “defriended” iPhone app. it unexpectedly got a lot of attention, then subsequently Facebook blocked the app, causing it to stop working. We will be looking at how feasible it is to make the app work without a corresponding facebook app, but in the meantime if you’ve bought the app you should ask apple for a refund – and please do…we don’t really want to get money for an app you paid for and that doesn’t work. We apologise for the inconvenience.|
It’s unfortunate, to be sure, but as Axon noted in his piece on the whole issue: if you use an app because you didn’t notice when someone unfriended you, you’re probably fine without that person as a Facebook friend.
[image via pushandsend]