When.fm: Healthier Networks

Nobody likes technical whinge posts.

So let’s make this a short one.

When.fm doesn’t integrate with Facebook any more. Here’s three reasons why.

Trust

They can make developers do as many data protection surveys as they want.

Facebook’s perception problem here doesn’t sit primarily with the third party apps it’s historically allowed to use its data.

The noise is coming from inside the house.

Repeated, publicly reported missteps have diminished trust. The once-convenient shortcut to reflecting your social relationships in a new app now feels to many like a big privacy compromise.

A small app being tightly coupled to this ecosystem isn’t a feature any more: it’s a liability.

Demand

I’ve been involved in polls about this on other projects recently. Some people want other social logins. Not very many want Facebook.

Most people just want to use a password. And frankly that’s also much less work – even after you factor in the time spent this year to rebuild When.fm with a smooth, in-app friend management experience all of its own.

The landscape in 2022 is not the one when When.fm development started in 2012. It’s time to move on.

Stability

I won’t list all the very short notice changes Facebook have made because they are public record. The craziest was breaking live Android apps with about 2 months notice if they didn’t move off a previously long-term-supported SDK.

The most common cause of pain was just failure to engage with common sense questions in good faith. Here’s a little sample of a response to my detailed submission explaining why the app needs a simple list of a user’s friends:

Facebook "user_friends feedback" that repeats FAQs without explaining the issue

This typical generic, copy/pasted “feedback” often conspired with things like requiring support for stock versions of Android so old that modern frameworks will not support them, in order to pass a feature review.

The result: a completely unworkable situation for a side project app. And not the actions of a company that’s interested in keeping external developers on side.

Let’s move on

You can use When.fm and keep control of your own data today, using version 3 of the app, by joining the beta.

More music-focused integrations with some external services you may know are coming, really soon. ?

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