Facebook bans app developer for life because it hates his extension!

Washington DC - English app developer Louis Barclay has been banned by Facebook from the platform for making a tool that will enable users to clear their timeline all at once. He was handed a cease-and-desist letter in July and was permanently banned from the platform.

Facebook is already mired in issues with user health, but has decided to take action against a developer and potential ally who built a tool to improve how people use social media.
Facebook is already mired in issues with user health, but has decided to take action against a developer and potential ally who built a tool to improve how people use social media.  © Unsplash/Timothy Hales Bennett

In 2020, Barclay made an extension for Google Play Store for Facebook users.

Using this extension, the users can unfollow all the pages and unfriends everyone from their friends' list.

This significantly reduced the time taken to do that manually.

Following the launch of the extension, the University of Neuchatel in Switzerland was interested in using it to find out the effect of an empty timeline on the users' mental health and also the number of time individuals usually spend on the platform.

In a post on Slate, the developer published a version of the message he received from the law firm that represents FB, Perkins Coie, that he will be ousted from both Facebook and Instagram and will not be allowed to access the platforms ever.

Punishment draconic compared to "offense"

Facebook gave Barclay an unequivocal thumbs down with its cease-and-desist order against the developer's nudge.io browser extension.
Facebook gave Barclay an unequivocal thumbs down with its cease-and-desist order against the developer's nudge.io browser extension.  © 123RF/rvlsoft

According to the strongly worded letter, Barclay was "interfering with or impairing the intended operations of Facebook."

The letter said, "Facebook has taken technical steps to deactivate your Facebook and Instagram account, and hereby revokes your limited licenses to access Facebook and Instagram."

In an interview with the Insider, Barclay expressed his shock at this message as his extension was not causing any threat to the tech giants.

His extension only had 2,500 weekly active users and a total of 10,000 downloads.

He said, "It was definitely growing, but it wasn't huge. Apart from that I just very much saw it as something that improves the Facebook experience for Facebook users."

Barclays also added that it was impossible for him to take on the company as "Facebook is a trillion-dollar company. I couldn't afford that risk."

Cover photo: Unsplash/Timothy Hales Bennett

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