Back to News for Developers

Forced Invites and Unwelcome Communications

February 15, 2008ByPaul C. Jeffries

Facebook Platform is an “open market” where developers can freely experiment. We’re thrilled with the explosion of creativity and the value that’s been generated for users. We’ll continue to provide ever more powerful tools for developer innovation.

Of course, developers should never employ this flexibility to deliberately generate a bad experience for their users or anyone else. To that end, as part of our ongoing efforts to improve Platform through policy and technology changes, applications are prohibited from dead-ending users at an invite-friends page, and must never again prompt for invites after the user has declined.

More generally, unnecessarily gating access to application features behind inviting friends is not a best practice. The recently announced allocation system for requests ratchets down app access to invitations when an invite-friends UI is generating bad user experience. Additionally, it is misleading to entice an investment of effort or promise a result and then -- without warning -- hold expected content hostage behind an invitation ransom; this is now expressly prohibited.

Finally, please be aware of the reach of your application to those who haven’t sought it out. While we embrace the diversity of tastes expressed by apps, content sent through Facebook’s API communication channels may be encountered by people who don’t share your application’s sensibilities or are otherwise unsuited to it. Please refrain from transmitting app- or user-generated content that’s inappropriate for a general audience to those who might see it on their Facebook account (as opposed to your canvas page or another user’s profile box) through no action of their own. The policy is more formally expressed here; we’ll evolve it if necessary, but we hope common sense will prevail.

It is often said that through constraints comes creativity. Facebook policy parameters are designed to more fully enable the flourishing of the Platform ecosystem. We welcome your feedback and questions at; please put [policy questions] in the subject line.