There's a bot going around deleting applications. There are even accounts in the forums of applications being banned even before they are released to the public. Apparently the bot only deletes "spammy" applications based on some secret algorithm, but it seems to remove just about every new application after it becomes semi-successful. It also occasionally forgets to notify you about deleting your application, but if you did get an email it looks like this:
(December 2010 version of the email sent)
We’re committed to providing spam-free user experiences on Platform while also providing developers an ecosystem in which communication channels are open and applications may grow. We think you’ll agree that spam undermines user trust and pollutes the ecosystem negatively, while simultaneously affecting good developers and users alike.
To ensure positive user experiences on Platform, we run routine automated screens that take user feedback, machine learning and various algorithms into account and remove spammy applications. For example, if an application is making an inordinate number of stream.publish calls and receiving a large number of user reports, it may be removed by our automated systems to protect the user experience and the Platform ecosystem.
Your application [APPLICATION NAME] (ID #[APPLICATION ID]) has been detected by our automated systems and permanently disabled. To prevent this from happening to future applications you may build, please monitor user reports and be sure to follow all outlined Developer Principles and Policies, which can be found at http://developers.facebook.com/policy. Additionally, please keep the user experience at the forefront when developing and iterating on your application.
Though we are very confident in our system, if you think we have removed your application erroneously, you can read about our appeals process and complete a form to appeal in this at http://www.facebook.com/help?faq=17553. We will work quickly to evaluate your case and initiate the appeals process.
The Facebook Platform Team
(Updated version of the email sent 2010-06-12)
Great experiences on Platform allow users to build out their identity and share engaging, relevant content with friends. To ensure users continue to have a positive experience using apps and sites on Facebook, we run automated screens that monitor user feedback and disable apps receiving negative user feedback (including, but not limited to, feed story hides, app uninstalls, and reports).
Your app [APPLICATION NAME] (ID #[APPLICATION ID]) has been disabled because our automated systems detected that your app is receiving negative user feedback. To help prevent this from happening in the future, we suggest you actively monitor user reports, volume of content published per user, and any spikes in share or install activity (real-time analytics available on Insights: http://www.facebook.com/insights/ ). You may also be in violation of our Facebook Principles and Policies: http://developers.facebook.com/policy/ .
If you think we have removed your app erroneously, please read about our appeals process and complete the form to appeal at http://www.facebook.com/help?faq=17553 . We will work quickly to evaluate your case.
The Facebook Platform Team
If you didn't get an email, you can usually tell that the bot was the culprit when the next time you log in you get warned about a possible break-in on your Facebook account (you'll get this warning if you get the email or not). The warning forces you to verify your identity and then change your password. Despite what it says, the only thing that hacked your account is this automated bot.
Now, fortunately, there are some actual people at Facebook that will look at your case if you ask them nicely. You can file an appeal here: http://www.facebook.com/help/contact.php?show_form=dev_disable_appeal . However, sometimes the appeals get lost and you receive no reply so sometimes you have to send it more than once. It usually takes about 4 days for an appeal to be read, processed, and your application given back to you (yes, they re-enable the "permanently disabled" application).
Here are the possible form responses you'll get to your appeal...
Hi [YOUR FIRST NAME],
Thanks for your inquiry. To help keep Platform policies simple while delivering great Platform experiences to users, our automated systems remove apps providing poor user experiences. Our systems use a variety of signals to assess user experience, such as user feedback on an app's communications (Stream stories, etc.) and on the app itself.
We've checked out the circumstances of your app's removal, and we found that your app received strong negative feedback from users and their friends. Here are some types of feedback that our systems look for when users interact with apps: removing content generated by your app from the News Feed, labeling content by your app as 'spam', uninstalling or blocking your app, and not granting extended permissions requested by your app. These signals denote a poor user experience and amount to a violation of our Facebook Platform Principles, which is why your app was removed.
Accordingly, we will not be able to restore your app. However, if you'd like to launch a new version of your app with a new app ID and canvas URL, please first make adjustments to ensure you're providing a good user experience and meeting our policies. You can monitor your app's user feedback here: http://www.facebook.com/insights . Unfortunately we cannot provide you with your original canvas URL.
Here are a few helpful resources:
Facebook Platform Policies: http://developers.facebook.com/policy
Pre-Launch Checklist: https://developers.facebook.com/docs/guides/policy/policy_checklist/
Examples and Explanations: http://developers.facebook.com/docs/guides/policy/examples_and_explanations
Promotion Guidelines: http://www.facebook.com/promotions_guidelines.php
[FIRST NAME OF FACEBOOK POLICY RESPONDER]
Hi [YOUR FIRST NAME],
We appreciate your inquiry. Your application was temporarily disabled by our automated systems, but it seems to be up and running properly now. Sorry for the inconvenience.
The Facebook Team