A post by Dare Obasanjo just brought the "This has got to stop" Facebook group to my attention. The group seems to be dedicated to stopping all the useless vampire/pirate/zombie/etc... Facebook apps that really serve no purpose other than to allow users to send themed messages to each other.
In his post Dare says...
I've seen a bunch of tech folks blog about being overwhelmed by Facebook app spam like Tim Bray in his post Facebook Rules and Doc Searls in Too much face(book) time. However I assumed that the average college or high school student who used the site didn't feel that way. Looks like I was wrong.
The folks at Facebook could fix this problem easily but it would eliminate a lot of the "viralness" that has been hyped about the platform. Personally, I think applications on the site have gotten to the point where the costs have begun to outweigh the benefits. The only way to tip the balance back is to rein them in otherwise it won't be long until the clean and minimal vs. cluttered and messy aesthetics stop working in their favor in comparisons with MySpace. When that happens there will be an opportunity for someone else to do the same thing to them.
As much as I don't personally like the applications that this group wants to be rid of I don't think I'll be joining anytime soon. To be blunt, it isn't the application's fault that one of your friends signed you up for something you had no interest in. These applications are some of the most popular on Facebook so obviously somebody is enjoying them. Further, since they rely on interaction to be worthwhile its equally obvious that some of those people's friends enjoy them as well.
To say that they should be banned because some people don't like them or because they make a home page cluttered (a thoroughly ambiguous term) is silly. By the same logic people should be banned from sending jokes via e-mail because some people over do it.
Any platform that chooses to limit the type of applications that can be written for it based on the disapproval of people who would never use that type of application might as well just get out of the platform business altogether.