Twitter has long had an official Facebook application that allows users to update their Facebook status with tweets. It’s quite useful for those of us who don’t want to have to spend all day updating multiple services with the same messages. The app has over 250,000 monthly active users. But if you’re not already one of them, I have bad news: You’re not allowed to use it.
For the past several days, anyone who has tried to install the app has been greeted with the following message:
Error while loading page from session test
There are still a few kinks Facebook and the makers of session test are trying to iron out. We appreciate your patience as we try to fix these issues. Your problem has been logged – if it persists, please come back in a few days. Thanks!
A few days? Try a week now. And it seems that despite the issue being “logged” neither side seems to care much about fixing it. And what the hell is “session test”?
Well, it turns out Session Test is actually another Facebook application created by someone called “Bob McTest” — a Facebook profile with two friends and a crazy picture (below right). Session Test has 45,373 monthly active users and 182 fans, despite awful reviews (because as far as I know, all it does is block this Twitter app). Humorously, when you try to install Session Test, you get the same Session Test error message.
At first, I assumed this was some kind of test application Facebook created to log errors, but it says clearly on the page, “This application was not developed by Facebook.” So why is a second app popping up when you try to install the Twitter app? It may be some kind of exploit. When we contacted Facebook about it, they said they would look into it.
On the Sessions Test page you’ll find some rather humorous reviews and discussions from users who are pissed off about not being able to install the Twitter app. The Reviews area for example features messages like, “Steady errors for weeks now… Way to go… update: another week, still nothing….” and “errors!!!!!!!!!! f@ck!!!!” But you won’t find any kind of response from either side there.
And the Discussions area is even better. One thread called “I hate you” features a bunch of annoyed would-be Twitter/Facebook users. Another thread called “TWITTER” features more of the same. Finally, someone made a thread just to point out other apps created to workaround the problem, but really, it’s pretty ridiculous that neither side has even responded to any of this.
One user links to a Get Satisfaction thread also talking about the issue. But again, no response from anyone on either side. I know Facebook and Twitter may not be on the best terms right now following Twitter’s rejection of Facebook’s offer to buy the startup late last year. And the subsequent moves Facebook has taken to become more Twitter-like. But it’s the users of both services who are getting angry here.
After I reached out to both sides about the issue, both said they would look into it. Facebook doesn’t seem to think it’s a problem on their end as VP of Communication and Public Policy Elliot Schrage told us, “this is a question more appropriately posed to Twitter — they built the app!” But it seems pretty clear that one app is exploiting another one, which would seem to be at least partially Facebook’s problem. Meanwhile, Twitter cofounder Biz Stone tells us that he’s looking into it.
It seems hard to believe that neither side would even be aware of the issue, but then again, given that the two seem to be competing more and more, an app that allows you to use one of the services rather than the other is probably not at the top of the priority list for either side.
And the app still works for the users who had it installed before this issue arose. But if you try to change your username or password, you will get the error message as well.