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Facebook Punishes LOLapps With Six-Month Block On Viral Channels

Facebook has punished several studios responsible for its recent user privacy breach troubles, blocking LOLapps and other developers' access to viral communication channels for six months.
Facebook has punished several studios responsible for its recent user privacy breach troubles, blocking LOLapps and other developers' access to viral communication channels for six months. The social network temporarily pulled LOLapps' titles from its site three weeks ago shortly before a Wall Street Journal report showed that many popular titles shared User IDs with developers -- a problem the company describes as "an issue with the way that web browsers work". It was also revealed that some developers, including LOLapps, passed on that user information to marketing companies, which was a violation of Facebook's terms. LOLapps said it resolved the issue and terminated its relationship with the ad firm, and its games eventually returned to the site. In a post detailing Facebook's "zero tolerance for data brokers", platform engineer Mike Vernal says the company is taking this policy violation seriously, and is restricting access to viral channels, such as the ability to make wall posts or send notifications/invitations, for studios that sold user IDs. "We are taking action against these developers by instituting a six-month full moratorium on their access to Facebook communication channels, and we will require these developers to submit their data practices to an audit in the future to confirm that they are in compliance with our policies," said Vernal. Though he didn't specify the affected companies, Vernal said this impacts "fewer than a dozen, mostly small developers, none of which are in the top 10 applications on Facebook Platform". Inside Facebook found that LOLapps, My Friend Web, Mappdev, and My Top Fans have all seen communication channels in their apps limited. Ravenwood Fair, LOLapps' newest game that released after the user ID controversy, is the only title from the San Francisco-based developer that hasn't suffered the six-month ban. It's unclear whether future releases from LOLapps will have their access to communication channels blocked. With most of their paths for virally promoting and cross-promoting its games blocked, LOLapps and other penalized developers will find it difficult expanding or even keeping their apps' userbases. LOLapps currently has more than 15.8 million total monthly active users across all its releases.

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