Facebook Platform

The Facebook Platform is a software environment provided by the social networking service Facebook for third-party developers to create their own applications and services that access data in Facebook. The platform offers a set of programming interfaces and tools which enable developers to integrate with the "open graph" of personal relations whether through applications on Facebook.com or external websites and devices. Launched on May 24, 2007, Facebook Platform has evolved from enabling development just on Facebook.com to one also supporting integration across the web and devices. Third party companies provide application metrics, and several blogs have sprung up in response to the clamor for Facebook applications. On July 4, 2007, Altura Ventures announced the "Altura 1 Facebook Investment Fund," becoming the world's first Facebook-only venture capital firm. On August 29, 2007, Facebook changed the way in which the popularity of applications is measured, to give attention to the more engaging applications, following criticism that ranking applications only by the number of people who had installed the application was giving an advantage to the highly viral, yet useless applications. Tech blog Valleywag has criticized Facebook Applications, labeling them a "cornucopia of uselessness." Others have called for limiting third-party applications so the Facebook user experience is not degraded. Primarily attempting to create viral applications is a method that has certainly been employed by numerous Facebook application developers. Stanford University even offered a class in the Fall of 2007, entitled, Computer Science (CS) 377W: "Create Engaging Web Applications Using Metrics and Learning on Facebook". Numerous applications created by the class were highly successful, and ranked amongst the top Facebook applications, with some achieving over

3.5 million users in a month. Facebook launched the Facebook Platform on May 24, 2007, providing a framework for software developers to create applications that interact with core Facebook features. A markup language called Facebook Markup Language was introduced simultaneously; it is used to customize the "look and feel" of applications that developers create. Using the Platform, Facebook launched several new applications, including Gifts, allowing users to send virtual gifts to each other, Marketplace, allowing users to post free classified ads, Events, giving users a method of informing their friends about upcoming events, Video, letting users share homemade videos with one another., and Social Network Games, where users can use their connections to friends to help them advance in games they are playing. Many of the popular early social network games would combine capabilities, for instance, one of the early games to reach the top application spot, (Lil) Green Patch, combined virtual Gifts with Event notifications to friends and contributions to charities through Causes. Applications that have been created on the Platform include chess, which both allow users to play games with their friends. In such games, a user's moves are saved on the website, allowing the next move to be made at any time rather than immediately after the previous move. By November 3, 2007, seven thousand applications had been developed on the Facebook Platform, with another hundred created every day. By the second annual f8 developers conference on July 23, 2008, the number of applications had grown to 33,000, and the number of registered developers had exceeded 400,000. Within a few months of launching the Facebook Platform, issues arose regarding "application spam", which involves Facebook applications "spamming" users to request it be installed.