Opportunity or Opportunism

This is the first in a short series of posts about Facebook and why I’m leaving.

The problem started shortly after Facebook released a developer package with an open API. I am a strong supporter of collaborative development. It gives users the power to innovate, create, and collaborate. It quickly got out of hand. The problem with giving power to the users is that it went unchecked. There was/is no formal review process for new ‘Applications’.  Developers have been successful and innovative with fun applications that add to the experience of Facebook.

from webdesignerdepot

The problem is, profiteers have littered Facebook with spam (with lack of a better word). Facebook is a dangerous place to start an unchecked development community. There is way too much personal information that is way too easy to access. The reason for opening up the API for development (in my opinion) was motivated by a desire to have free cheap development and innovation. This ultimately translates to simple greed. Fast expansion and a lot of new tools are great for advertisers. Facebook has a verification program. The kicker is, it’s OPTIONAL and it costs $357! The only benefit is that it helps developers promote their Application.

Apple did this well. Although there is a risk of personal information getting out, there still is a strict review process with iPhone Apps. It’s worth spending the money on QA and security in order to save on development costs. The end user is happy because they aren’t getting exploited. The Developer is happy because they can name their own price. And Apple is happy because they get free development.

EDIT

Further reading: Why You NEED APIs to Foster Innovation: A Case Study