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Facebook bans 'forced invites' in apps

Social network takes step toward cleaning up its messy app directory by ensuring that lousy widgets don't just get buzz because they make you tell your friends about them.

Ever come across one of those Facebook Platform applications that required you to spam a dozen of your friends with invites before you could access the results of your "Vampire Jedi Zombie Personality Quiz"?

They're annoying. And now Facebook has done something about it. Developer applications must "offer some navigation option to leave the friend invite process," according to a change in the social-networking site's platform policy. If an application's friend-invite page doesn't contain one of Facebook's in-house "Skip This Step," "Cancel," or "Skip" buttons, it has to contain an alternative way to navigate away from the friend invite process.

Developers whose applications ignore the new regulations reportedly receive warning letters that threaten shutdown if they fail to comply.

This is a big step toward cleaning up the cluttered Facebook app directory. Ideally, it will cut down on some of the "app invite overkill" that's led many Facebook users to groan every time they're invited to the corny application du jour. And it'll likely mean that Facebook members will probably only be passing on invites to applications they actually like, rather than spamming their friends just so they can learn what character from Hannah Montana they most resemble.

It will also mean your friends won't have to know that you even installed such an abhorrent application.