Posts tagged: Social Fixer

The Plight of Social Fixer

A few weeks ago the Social Fixer Facebook Page disappeared without warning. This caused a fair amount of confusion and distress to Social Fixer’s author Matt Kruse. He subsequently managed to communicate with a human being at Facebook, which led to the publishing of the following blog post:

http://socialfixer.com/blog/2013/10/05/facebook-requires-social-fixer-browser-extension-to-remove-key-features/

They are correct in saying that Social Fixer breaches section 3.11 of the Rights and Responsibilities, since it changes the appearance and rendering. It’s worth noting that so does a Screen Reader, yet there has been no veiled threat of legal action against the visually impaired. This phrase is also sufficiently vague as to include any new web browser release that includes tweaks to the rendering engine. Case in point would be Opera’s recent move to the Webkit code base.

They are also correct in saying that Social Fixer breaches 1.3 of the Platform Policies, by circumventing limitations in the platform.

I disagree that browser extensions on shared computers may cause inadvertent problems for some users. If you’re not using separate user accounts on a shared computer, you kind of deserve the problems you are going to face. From a security standpoint it is a foolish thing to do.

It is true that not all extension authors have honourable intentions, and that the code is not always kept up to date. There have been times in the past when even Social Fixer has struggled to keep up with the rapid changes being made by Facebook.

Sadly the truth is likely to be that Social Fixer represents a hit to Facebook’s bottom line. As Matt Kruse explains in his post:  it’s likely to be more about Social Fixer interfering with Facebook’s ability to control what you see and justify charging for “promoted” posts.

Personally I feel that the “crippling” of Social Fixer will make Facebook much less palatable for me. I have no interest in the promoted posts, nor do I click on the adverts, nor do I want to know that John Doe plays Candy Crush Saga. Perhaps I am in the minority.
As a developer I can understand Facebook’s need to protect their bottom line, but surely there must be a better way to go about it. At the end of the day it is their platform, and they get to control who does what on it, but alienating indie developers is not going to be profitable in the long run.

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