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Page last updated at 11:05 GMT, Monday, 2 March 2009
Facebook boss rejects app controls
By Iain Mackenzie
Newsbeat US reporter

Facebook logo
Zuckerberg says he wants to make sure innovation is still possible

Facebook will not be introducing stricter controls on third party applications, despite the recent appearance of so-called rogue apps.

Site founder Mark Zuckerberg told Newsbeat: "There will occasionally be some applications that people don't like.

"Our philosophy is that having an open system anyone can participate in is generally better."

There have been calls for a compulsory vetting process after some users fell victim to dodgy programs.

One programme, called "f a c e b o o k - closing down ! ! !", informs users that they have been reported for violating the site's terms of use. It also sends spam messages to everyone on the affected person's friend list.

Identity theft

Another, "Error Check System", offers to correct fictitious problems on a user's profile page. Although it makes no attempt to access personal information, security experts say it could be used to carry out identity theft.

However Zuckerberg insisted that Facebook would not be demanding approval over new programs.

He said: "When we were starting this we wanted anyone to be able to develop an application.
Even as Facebook stamps out one malignant application, it can pop up in another place
Graham Cluley of Sophos

"This has made it so students in their college dorm rooms could build applications for free. That's how I got started with Facebook."

"We really want to make sure that sort of innovation is possible."

Writing on his blog, Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at anti-virus software developers Sophos, said: "One of the problems is that Facebook allows anybody to write an application and third party applications are not vetted before they are released to the public.

App certification

"Even as Facebook stamps out one malignant application, it can pop up in another place."

Facebook does check some applications, but only on a voluntary basis.

For a fee of up-to 250 developers can have their program considered for certification.

If successful, the program receives a "Facebook Verified App" badge.

The system has been criticised by some developers who view it as little more than a money-making scheme.

Many other technology companies exercise greater control over third party developers.

Apple, which distributes software for its iPhone and iPod Touch through its App Store, demands approval over all new programs.

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