A message to Facebook users who wage war on the seemingly endless stream of game invitations: help is on the way.
Facebook Inc. Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg said the social network is finally going to do something about the constant notifications that nag users to download games and play with friends.
The topic came up during a Q&A at the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology in Delhi. Mr. Zuckerberg said a question about stopping the notifications was voted most popular on Facebook ahead of the gathering. He credited the world’s largest democracy Wednesday for alerting him to the gravity of the problem and said this is an example of why Q&As are really valuable. He added that he asked the person in charge of Facebook’s developer platform to look into a solution before the town hall even began.
Game invitations might be a nuisance for recipients who aren’t interested in playing, but games are often designed to reward senders. In the case of “Candy Crush Saga,” for example, the more requests people send to others on Facebook to play the game, the more “lives” they gain in return.
Such features are outdated, Mr. Zuckerberg acknowledged, but updating or doing away with them wasn’t high on the company’s to-do list — until now. He said Facebook had other priorities, but that since it’s now clear this is a top concern for users, the company is going to prioritize the matter.
While a shrinking number of people play games on Facebook today, there was a time when titles such as “FarmVille” and “Mafia Wars” were a major draw for the social-networking site. Companies like Zynga Inc and King Digital Entertainment PLC catapulted to prominence due to the popularity of their games played on Facebook’s website. They’ve since moved on now that gamers have shifted to mobile devices. Facebook’s revenue from games is a drop in the bucket compared with what it pulls in from advertising.
Frustration over the invitations isn’t new. More than a year ago a Facebook user posted a question to a community page asking for help removing them, noting he gets at least one a day. Another user recommended hovering over the notification to make an option appear for turning the feature off.
Mr. Zuckerberg didn’t specify during the town hall how his company will go about resolving the problem. Facebook didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.