Sorry, kids, but it looks like Facebook has taken action to disable the leaked copy of its forthcoming Android application, Facebook Home, which had only today become available in the form of a hacked, beta build. The leaked app, unlike the official version which debuts on April 12th, also included support for a wider range of devices, including the Nexus 4 and the Nexus 7 tablet.
MoDaCo was the source of the original leak, as we reported earlier this morning, but site founder Paul O’Brien says now that it looks like Facebook has made a server-side change, which causes those who had the beta build installed to only see a black screen. TechCrunch’s Darrell Etherington, who had tested the app today while covering the news, confirms that for the past couple of hours, the app has stopped updating.
Facebook Home update: It looks like Facebook turned something off server side… only a black screen is showing in the app now. Killjoys! :(
— Paul O’Brien (@PaulOBrien) April 8, 2013
Other beta testers on Twitter are posting that they’re also seeing the same thing. O’Brien tells us via email that he’s looking into these issues now, and will reach out with more information when he has details as to what’s really going on. However, he would confirm that the issues were “definitely not client side,” which indicates that the blackout has been prompted by a change on Facebook’s servers.
@paulobrien the feeds are gone , just my profile picture and pure darkness ! might be facebook testing Super AMOLED darkness :D
— Aditya Sharma (@AdityaVille) April 8, 2013
@paulobrien only my little chat head in the very dark background remains. :(
— Angel (@angelreality) April 8, 2013
Though it was fun to play around with the beta build however briefly, it was not an ideal experience, which is probably why Facebook has made a move to shut this down, assuming that’s the case. The leaked build required that a user uninstall their Facebook application, and one of the better features – Chat Heads, the innovative new messaging interface in Facebook Home – didn’t yet work. However, the Cover Feed was previously functional, as was access to Facebook Home’s Settings and support for switching on or off notifications.
The good news was that this leak showed that porting Facebook Home to other handsets is possible, and it shouldn’t be too difficult – or hopefully, too much longer – before Facebook introduces support for an expanded device line up in the future.
We’ve also reached out to Facebook for comment, and will update if the company responds.
Update, 2 PM ET: O’Brien tells us he has implemented what he refers to as a “dirty fix” to circumvent the disabling done by Facebook. However, he has not decided if he will make this fix available yet.