The curmudgeon's guide to horrible Facebook apps

Viral. And not in a good way.

We've previously covered the stupidest Facebook apps , but there are a few apps that are not just dumb, they're insidious. Invasive. Annoying in ways that go beyond vibrating hamsters and virtual poo. I'm talking about apps that assault your e-mail, tease you with personal messages from friends but turn out to be spam, or rope you into playing games that keep you coming back even though you can feel your IQ lowering every time you do so. Therefore, I nominate these as the worst Facebook apps ever:

FunWall. The No. 1 Facebook app, according to Appsaholic. And the No. 1 abuser of the privilege. Sure, your friends can send you cute videos and posters with it, but to see the messages you've got to install the app, and if you ever try to send a message to a friend, you are more than likely to inadvertently spam your entire Facebook network since all your friends are selected by default when you press the "forward" button. What makes this especially bad is that your friends will then get e-mail saying that you've sent them a personal FunWall post, install the app themselves, and start the cycle anew. I've found FunWall content to be 90 percent spam. If it wasn't for the 10 percent of the posts that are not, I could write it off. I may anyway.

Kill me now.

Vampires, Zombies, Jedis, etc. In these apps you attack your friends to gain status and levels and win extra points for recruiting new friends into the game. These apps are strangely addictive, but a colossal waste of time. One the one hand, they're like World of Warcraft (you level up, but without the quests and gameplay). On the other, they're social network slot machines, but with no financial payout. Actually that's the same hand, the bad hand. On the other hand...nothing.

These apps are so viral they're becoming serious marketing tools. So who are you playing for? (Related: Facebook advice from zombies .)

Friends for Sale. Really a more evolved version of Vampires. You buy friends with fake money and then some other chump buys them from you at a fake profit. How much are you worth? Not much? There goes your evening, trying to get people to buy you. There goes your your self esteem with it. I also hate this app because my wife is worth about eight times than I am.

Now that we've established, the price, ma'am...

A co-worker here, Andrew Mager, takes issue with my opinion, and says there's serious strategy involved in Friends for Sale. He contributes to a blog on this topic, Sell Your Friends. Key quote from the site: "If you like getting addicted to social applications, this one is perfect." I rest my case.

Various quizzes. You get invited to a quiz app, start entering your preferences, and get some utterly specious score comparing you to the person who roped you in. The quality of the information you get out is extraordinarily low compared with the time it takes you to put in the information that generates the score. But because the invitation to the quiz comes from your friend, you engage in the app anyway. Worse still are quizzes that don't work at all until you invite others to sign up, like the American Accent quiz. How do you pronounce, "Sucker?"

Inviting.

Hey, here's a great app: read a book! Or go run around outside.

 

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