Facebook Disables All LOLapps Games and Apps

We started hearing reports midday on Friday that Critter Island had disappeared. It’s now a day later, and Critter Island is still down, along with dozens of other apps we have listed in AppData for developer LOLapps. All redirect to facebook.com.

All signs point to a complete suspention of LOLapps apps by Facebook. LOLapps is a large and stable developer on Facebook, with a slew of quiz and gift applications, as well as Critter Island and several older games. Before yesterday, it had over 14 million monthly active users, making it the twelfth-largest developer on Facebook, and just under a million daily actives.

Preliminary rumors we’ve heard suggest that the ban is real, and that LOLapps did not see it coming. CEO Arjun Sethi declined to comment in response to an email sent yesterday, and hasn’t provided any update since. Facebook has not responded at all.

Update: Facebook responded as this story was being posted: “We have disabled applications from LOLapps due to violations of our terms.”

Facebook has suspended quite a few developers since opening its platform; the largest recent example was Pencake, a company that had several massive quiz apps disabled overnight in July. However, almost every case of a complete ban targets a developers spamming Facebook users with non-game apps. Individual non-game apps are disabled quite often.

LOLapps, by contrast, made a point of its turn to game development in June, and appears to have focused mostly on Critter Island and upcoming titles since. The company is venture funded and generally well-known in the Silicon Valley development community.

Second update: While there have been some suggestions that LOLapps and others were suspended for exploiting loopholes that allowed them to auto-post to users’ feeds, such loopholes are discovered by developers from time to time, and upon using them are reprimanded by Facebook – it’s often part of the day-to-day operation of many developers.

Instead, we’ve also learned that these suspensions possibly relate to worries at Facebook about privacy, specifically relating to sharing data with third-party advertising services. More information may emerge soon. For now, the silence from both parties is enough to make other developers nervous.

Third update: We were correct about the involvement of third-party advertisers; a firm called RapLeaf is behind the LOLapps suspensions, according to a longer Wall Street Journal expose.

Final update: LOLapps is back on Facebook, after less than three days of suspension.

Since LOLapps was reinstated, we’ve written more about Facebook’s data market and policies:

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50 Responses to “Facebook Disables All LOLapps Games and Apps”

  1. Social Games Deal Rumors (Fall 2010): Is LOLapps going to be acquired? By whom? - Quora says:

    [...] the likely bidders?Cannot add comment at this time.  2 Answers  Anon User Lol?http://www.insidesocialgames.com…Insert a dynamic date here  Anon User 3 votes by Anon User, Jinal Jhaveri and Anon UserI [...]

  2. Quora says:

    Is LOLapps going to be acquired? By whom?…

    Just heard LOLapps is going to be acquired (October 13, 2010). Anyone hear anything? Is it DeNA, or is it another large media or gaming company? Who would be the likely bidders? http://www.insidesocialgames.com/2010/10/16/facebook-bans-lolapps/

  3. Quora says:

    Should a startup be concerned about building its business on an API?…

    An example of when things go badly: http://www.insidesocialgames.com/2010/10/16/facebook-bans-lolapps/

  4. fujin says:

    Shouldn’t have spammed so much, noobs.

  5. Facebook Disables LOLapps Games and Applications | Shark Lady Tech says:

    [...] Read more here. [...]

  6. Mansoor says:

    Not a good sign!! :(
    Facebook shouldn’t ban all the apps, there are many reasons for saying this, one reason is that companies are making money via Facebook, and they will get a big loss after this ban! :(

  7. Facebook Disables All LOLapps Games and Apps | Techarama says:

    [...] Comments View full post on Hacker News [...]

  8. Shocking! LOLapps Games Disappears From Facebook - Worst Tech! says:

    [...] [Inside Social Games] dtsv.dtse_post_5368_permalink = [...]

  9. Dan says:

    Yet another example of Facebook bullying companies building on top of their platform. Why does Facebook have to be such a bad partner? Anyone know if they at least warned LOLapps?

  10. Developer Love: Facebook Shuts Down LOLapps says:

    [...] Friday, the same day that “Operation Developer Love” was announced, Facebook shut down all LOLapps applications. While the two events were not related, the timing was nothing short of [...]

  11. Bert says:

    One thing about the whole Facebook game-thing, it keeps people online for hours and hours. And, since network connections are bi-directional, you can both send, and receive information through them, well, there’s always the question of just how ethical the website operators are, and how ethical the software developers are. Especially in this day and age, you could theoretically be accessing something you enjoy, such as Facebook, or one of their games, or for that matter, any other website come to think of it, meanwhile ‘buddy’ down in the server room is reading your hard drive. Something to consider…on top of that, consider all the fun datamining you can do with the information that’s voluntarily provided by users on sites like Facebook. Welcome to the computer age! $$$$$$$$$$$$$$.$$

  12. EH says:

    It’s Sunday afternoon. :)

  13. Postduif says:

    This kind of management will make that people are banning facebook, today Band of heroes, tomorrow Mafia wars game, whats next….

    I am very dissapointed

  14. Quora says:

    Why did Facebook shut down LOLapps?…

    http://www.insidesocialgames.com/2010/10/16/facebook-bans-lolapps/ Does anyone have more intelligence on the reasons?…

  15. Facebook Disables All LOLapps Games and Apps | Games says:

    [...] original here: Facebook Disables All LOLapps Games and Apps admin On October – 17 – [...]

  16. LOLapps Pushed Off 14 Million User Cliff By Facebook | Social Matchbox says:

    [...] users.  On Friday, they were pushed off a 14 million user cliff by the folks at Facebook for what appears to be violations of the Facebook Terms of Service.  This is not an isoltated case by any means, but it is a remarkably harmful action by Facebook if [...]

  17. Chris Morrison says:

    EH: You’re right. Instead of publishing separately on Inside Facebook, I’ve just updated this story. We’ll save the followup for a weekday.

  18. Quora says:

    All LOLapps games and applications have disappeared from Facebook. What happened?…

    Inside Social Games is saying now that data sharing with 3rd party ad companies is the cause: http://www.insidesocialgames.com/2010/10/16/facebook-bans-lolapps/

  19. Dan Bernasconi says:

    Like thousands of others, I AM disappointed that Facebook has decided to ban LOLapps and is targeting others as well.. Facebook is TOO BIG and TOO RESTRICTIVE of their policies except when it comes to sharing information about Facebook users themselves, ie altering privacy settings, removing options we’ve used before, etc. I think it’s time for another platform to take the lead and take users from Facebook. I would certainly switch… It’d be nice to have a Gamer Platform in which to enjoy using.. Any takers???

    You can sign me a disgruntled Band of Heroes User…that no longer has access to it…

  20. Anonymous says:

    Agreed with Dan. The power Facebook has today is very much a MONOPOLOY. I wonder if any developers are talking to the FCC about these types of issues when they get shut down without warning from Facebook. There’s no alternative game platforms, and Facebook has complete control over a burgeoning multi-billion dollar industry. Smells like a monopolistic control that can stifle competition if you ask me.

  21. Facebook Apps Leaking User Info to Third Parties: Tech News « says:

    [...] terms of service. A report last week said that a maker of Facebook games called LOLapps has been shut down completely by the social network after it was discovered to be transmitting user information to advertising agencies and [...]

  22. Devon says:

    Good step. They should ban all the “I act like a 3 year old” apps.

  23. Morning Digest: Sequoia, Facebook, Copyright, Groupon, TTL, Voda, Torrents - MediaNama says:

    [...] Facebook Bans All LOLapps Games and Apps – Inside Social Games Sistema-Shyam to list on Indian bourses early next year – Hindustan Times Yahoo to Offer Media Links – Wall Street Journal Major Torrent Sites Go Down After Attack on Hosting Provider – TorrentFreak Bigshoebazaar.com opens physical stores in Sangroor, Kurukshetra & Haryana – India Retailing Tags : Category : News Post a Comment  |   Share this on : function fbs_click() {u=location.href;t=document.title;window.open('http://www.facebook.com/sharer.php?u='+encodeURIComponent(u)+'&t='+encodeURIComponent(t),'sharer','toolbar=0,status=0,width=626,height=436');return false;} html .fb_share_link { padding:2px 0 0 5px; height:16px; } « Previous Story | Weekly Digest (8th-15th Oct 2010) Newsletter [...]

  24. Asif Iqbal says:

    Facebook is bull-sheet. They can not business with peoples rights.

  25. Facebook Apps Leaking User Info to Third Parties | MediaScrape News says:

    [...] terms of service. A report last week said that a maker of Facebook games called LOLapps has been shut down completely by the social network after it was discovered to be transmitting user information to advertising agencies and marketers. [...]

  26. Quora says:

    According to WSJ, all top Facebook app developers passed user ids to third parties. Why was Lolapps the only one penalized?…

    WSJ article: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304772804575558484075236968.html Lolapps apps being disabled: http://www.insidesocialgames.com/2010/10/16/facebook-bans-lolapps/…

  27. Azam Khan says:

    LOLapps lives again!!

  28. Public Facebook Information Is Part of Larger Online Data Gray Market says:

    [...] the meta-story, too. The article mentioned LOLapps as one of the guilty developers; we covered how Facebook blocked its applications on Friday. It is now live again, for unstated [...]

  29. WSJ Article on Facebook Feeds the Privacy Beast says:

    [...] actions between application developers and advertising companies. Facebook has stepped-up and is holding third parties accountable to existing privacy [...]

  30. Quinn Emanuel: Facebook’s User Data Policies Are Somewhat Ambiguous says:

    [...] the suspension of all LOLapps games and apps on Friday by Facebook, the issue of Facebook policy has once again caught the attention of the [...]

  31. יהונתן קלינגר | פרטיות או אקסקלוסיביות: לולאפס, זינגה והפרטיות שלכם ‏ :: Intellect or Insanity‏ says:

    [...] על פרסום מפולח קריטריונים אישיים. לאור הפרסום, Facebook הסירה אפליקציות של חברת הפיתוח LOLapps, שהיתה מבין אלה שהעבירו מידע והשיבה אותה לאחר מספר [...]

  32. It’s not the privacy, it’s the exclusivity: Facebook, Zynga & LOLapps says:

    [...] because Facebook wants its monopoly over advertising in the network. Following this publication, Facebook removed some applications by the popular developer, LOLapps, who was one of those who conveyed information and restored it after a few hours (see LOLapps [...]

  33. פרטיות או אקסקלוסיביות: לולאפס, זינגה והפרטיות שלכם‬ « creamdela.com says:

    [...] על פרסום מפולח קריטריונים אישיים. לאור הפרסום, Facebook הסירה אפליקציות של חברת הפיתוח LOLapps, שהיתה מבין אלה שהעבירו מידע והשיבה אותה לאחר מספר [...]

  34. Слив засчитан | inSocialPlay — блог об играх для социальных сетей says:

    [...] в нечистоплотности. В числе отлученных от кормушки оказалась, например, компания LOLapps, у которой почти три дня были [...]

  35. Google engineer ontwikkelt Facebook Disconnect says:

    [...] om te voorkomen dat Facebook je ‘achtervolgt’ op het web. Zijn inspiratiebron(nen) waren de gesprekken en debatten rond de privacy issues waarmee Facebook recent te maken kreeg. Facebook Disconnect is een Google [...]

  36. Phrases Returns, Badoo Arrives on This Week’s List of Fastest-Growing Facebook Apps by DAU says:

    [...] massively over the past week. Developer LOLapps recently became famous for the wrong reasons when Facebook briefly suspended all of its apps (more publicly than with Phrases) but it’s recovering well [...]

  37. Facebook Updates User ID Policy, Puts Six Month Block on Rogue Application Developers says:

    [...] update, another is punishment for those developers that purposefully sold this information — most had done it accidentally — and a third is confirmation of a change it previously proposed to how user IDs are [...]

  38. Facebook’s Latest Punishments Hit LOLapps, Other Developers says:

    [...] named several times in the WSJ’s articles, remains significantly affected. After having all of its apps removed by Facebook over the weekend preceding the WSJ’s first article, LOLapps appeared to be in the clear, [...]

  39. Facebook’s Updated Platform Policies: Changes to User IDs, Ad Providers, and Iframe Page Apps says:

    [...] comes in response to the discovery and subsequent disabling of apps by some developers that were selling User IDs to data brokers. Facebook was heavily criticized by the mainstream media for the data leak, and so it is seeking to [...]

  40. Facebook Makes New Effort to Reach Out to Game Developers says:

    [...] Developer Love,” which launched last fall. Around that same time, Facebook appeared to be cracking down on game developers that in any way violated its terms of service agreements, however [...]

  41. Developer Love: Facebook Shuts Down LOLapps - AllFacebook says:

    [...] Friday, the same day that “Operation Developer Love” was announced, Facebook shut down all LOLapps applications. While the two events were not related, the timing was nothing short of [...]

  42. FaceBook jokes aside, are there GENUINE dangers in Social Media? « Warm Southern Breeze says:

    [...] rent space and services in the Facebook condominium. Facebook simply disabled the game, and the chart shows the user base collapsing from 14 million to zero in a couple of [...]

  43. Keller and Krugman « Marion in Savannah says:

    [...] rent space and services in the Facebook condominium. Facebook simply disabled the game, and the chart shows the user base collapsing from 14 million to zero in a couple of [...]

  44. Wising Up to Facebook | Marty's Blog says:

    [...] rent space and services in the Facebook condominium. Facebook simply disabled the game, and the chart shows the user base collapsing from 14 million to zero in a couple of [...]

  45. Wising Up to Facebook | Facebook Zone says:

    [...] lease space and services in a Facebook condominium. Facebook simply infirm a game, and a chart shows a user bottom collapsing from 14 million to 0 in a integrate of [...]

  46. Wising Up to Facebook | NY Times – A Room With A View says:

    [...] rent space and services in the Facebook condominium. Facebook simply disabled the game, and the chart shows the user base collapsing from 14 million to zero in a couple of [...]

  47. Taking More than Candy from a Baby :: The Future of the Internet — And How to Stop It says:

    [...] This is hardly the first case of a single platform distribution model suddenly whipsawing a developer — and its customers. For example, in 2010, Facebook banned applications from a company called LOLapps, including its game Critter Island. Critter Island’s active monthly users went from 13 million to zero over the course of a day. [...]

  48. Taking More than Candy from a Baby | what is the internet | the internet | internet news says:

    [...] This is hardly the first case of a single platform distribution model suddenly whipsawing a developer — and its customers. For example, in 2010, Facebook banned applications from a company called LOLapps, including its game Critter Island. Critter Island’s active monthly users went from 13 million to zero over the course of a day. [...]

  49. Wising Up to Facebook - World Observer Online says:

    [...] rent space and services in the Facebook condominium. Facebook simply disabled the game, and the chart shows the user base collapsing from 14 million to zero in a couple of [...]

  50. Op-Ed Columnist: Wising Up to Facebook - World Bad News : World Bad News says:

    [...] lease space and services in a Facebook condominium. Facebook simply infirm a game, and a chart shows a user bottom collapsing from 14 million to 0 in a integrate of [...]

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