Facebook is about to become a much quieter place and, despite it being a social service, designed to connect people, that's actually a good thing. Because it's not idle chit-chat that's getting silenced, thankfully, it's the amount of app spam clogging up your notifications inbox. Starting March 1st all that is gone and developers are encouraged to use other means provided by Facebook to connect with the users or spam them with special offers on pumpkins as the case may be.
"We announced last October a set of efforts to help make interactions with applications more streamlined, clear, and less spammy for users," Facebook's Kelly Winters writes. "Beginning next Monday, March 1, 2010, at 10AM Pacific time, Facebook will no longer deliver application notifications and will discontinue support for notifications.send."
Nobody is beating around the bush here, everyone knows it will affect app developers many of whom relied heavily on notifications to drive up traffic and get new users. Facebook is trying to make it as painless as possible, but it's clear that it's taking the users' side in this. The truth is the system was abused by most developers and found the constant stream of notifications from all sorts of apps they find annoying to downright irritating.
As Facebook said, the move has been known for a few months now and the social network has given developers ample time and several tools to cope with the loss of this communications channel. Recently, Facebook has started allowing developers to ask users to for their email addresses so that the notifications could be sent directly bypassing Facebook's system. It doesn't really solve the problem for the user but, at least, Facebook's in the clear.
Facebook also recommends developers to start relying more on counters or dashboard news notices. Counters will be very similar to notifications from a user's perspective, but the major difference is that they will only show up if the app is bookmarked. No word on how and if this affects News Feed notifications from apps, but perhaps Facebook is taking it one step a time.