Facebook Developer Cries Foul
August 3, 2012

Dear Mark Zuckerberg – Facebook Developer Cries Foul

Michael Harper for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online

This hasn´t been the best week for Facebook, as it turns out.

First, a small business noticed that nearly 80% of their traffic they had paid for was driven by bots. Rather than acknowledge the issue, Facebook told them they´d allow them to change their name if they paid a $2000 fee first.

Later, Facebook released their 10-Q filing to the SEC, saying of their 955 million active accounts, 83 million are illegitimate. These accounts range from duplicate accounts to accounts for false businesses or pets to “undesirable accounts,” which could mean anything.

Having disappointed their advertisers and their stock holders, it´s only icing on their cake that they´ve also disappointed their developers this week.

One such developer, Dalton Caldwell, posted a very angry and possibly telling story on his blog earlier this week entitled “Dear Mark Zuckerberg.”

Caldwell tells a story about a recent run-in with some Facebook execs (not Zuckerberg himself) wherein he was more or less threatened to either join Facebook´s team or feel their wrath.

According to Caldwell´s story, he was called in to Facebook HQ on June 13 to meet with the companies VP of engineering and products, VP of partnerships, VP of corporate and Business development and the Director of developer relations and open graph.

Caldwell had assumed he had been called to demonstrate his new iOS app for the Facebook platform, which he had been assured was “an interesting/valuable use of Open Graph & Facebook Platform.”

During the June meeting, however, Caldwell said the Facebook execs explained that his app would compete with Facebook´s new app, and rather than have a competition between the two, they wanted to acquire Caldwell´s company to help build the Facebook app.

Caldwell turned them down, saying he had no interest in an aqui-hire, to which the director responded by saying he was in charge of the new App Center and Caldwell´s new app would cut into their financial goals.

According to Caldwell, the developer relations director made it sound as if the very option to acquire his company was a “noble and kind move” on Facebook´s part.

"I said that if Facebook wanted to have a serious conversation about acquiring my team and product, I would entertain the idea. Otherwise, I had zero interest in seeing my product shut down and joining Facebook. I told your team I would rather reboot my company than go down that route."

Facebook has yet to respond with a comment about this matter and, as it stands right now, the only story we have about this incident comes from Caldwell himself. He does mention in his post, however, that he has heard of similar treatment from other developers. It is curious, however, that the meeting took place in early June, yet Caldwell is only now sharing the story.

He could have been waiting to resolve this issue internally and felt he had waited long enough.

Caldwell could have also wanted to dump some extra heat on the company who was already having a tough week.

With poor stock performance, shrinking revenues and an increasing scrutiny from users and outsiders alike, are we witnessing the beginning of a long descent for Facebook?