Nick O'Neill

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The Increasingly Prevalent Auto-Follow “Trick”

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If you’re one of the millions of consumers of mobile applications, there’s a good chance you’ve downloaded an app recently that has you log in with Facebook or Twitter. While not all of these products are “social” by nature, most that require users to log in are focused on social networking of some sort. Within that subset, the focus has shifted from building a quality user experience to developing tricks that get users to engage with the application.

The latest trick, which Kevin Rose’s new app Oink is a serious offender of, automatically follows you to all your friends and notifies you every time they “follow” you or you “follow” them. The reason I put the word “follow” in quotes is that I haven’t opted in to doing so and neither have they. All the developers who are doing it think it’s really clever, but they’re really just damaging the user experience.

If your app does this it deserves to get deleted. Not only do I not want to automatically follow all of my Facebook and Twitter friends (it ruins the experience), but I also don’t want to be notified every time your app automatically connects me. If you’re a developer please resist the urge to do this.

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