Facebook hits game simplifier with cease and desist, players riot


Well, they may not have grabbed torches and pitchforks just yet, but I wouldn't rule it out... Players of many Facebook games were left disappointed this morning, as popular (and free) Chrome and Firefox browser plug-in Friendly Gaming Simplifier (FGS) was hit with a death knell in the form of a legal notice from Facebook, Inc. based in Menlo Park, California.

While not all users actively utilized the Friendly Gaming Simplifier (the plug-in would click on news feed posts in many popular Facebook games such as The Sims Social, CityVille or Ravenwood Fair), the plug-in had racked up an impressive following of players "in-the-know," who kept the project a secret for fear of such an outcome (the actual amount of installs is unknown, but the plug-in's Facebook page has over 135,000 Likes). Unfortunately, player secrecy can only go so far, as Facebook has deemed the creator, who goes by the handle Flies, an "unwelcome/dangerous person to [the] Facebook infrastructure" and that any continued activity on the site, even of a personal nature, will be "regarded as unauthorized access to [Facebook's] protected computer network."

In other words, if Flies continues to support FGS, or even tries to use Facebook as a basic social network, he'll be hit hard by Facebook legal. Needless to say, Flies (a student) doesn't have the resources to fight back, so the plug-in and all associated websites and source codes will vanish at the end of today, January 6. A petition has already shot up to almost 5,000 signatures and 1,400 comments, begging Facebook to change its decision.

While this is definitely devastating to Flies, it's more interesting when looking at the situation from Facebook's or even the average game player's standpoint. Was this legal action really taken because Flies was doing something wrong? The plug-in itself wasn't a cheat, as it wouldn't collect items that had already reached their intended limits (set by game developers), and it never gave users direct access to any sort of Facebook "back end." That being the case, does Facebook simply want games to be "harder" to play? Zynga CEO Mark Pincus has already stated that he doesn't like when players have longer play sessions, which this plug-in would definitely allow for, so who's responsible really? Did Zynga or another Facebook developer ask Facebook to get involved, or is this really all of Facebook's doing? Either way, it leaves users scrambling to find an adequate replacement, as game releases are never-ending and users must spend that much more time manually collecting bonuses to not get left behind.

Image Credit: The Simpsons Movie

[Via Friendly Gaming Simplifier Blog]

Did you use the Friendly Gaming Simplifier, or do you actively use a plug-in that performs the same function? Are you sad to see Facebook going after these kinds of apps and ultimately making your game-playing time that much harder? Sound off in the comments.