Monday, July 11, 2011

Facebook blocks Open-Xchange contact exporter tool | ZDNet

This is a complex and contextual debate – e.g., if I agree to friend someone in Facebook, that does not necessarily mean I agree to share that friendship or other parts of my social network with other tool/service providers my friend may elect to authorize (to access their Facebook profile/network info).  It might be “my” personal network, managed by Facebook, but I and others have contextual assumptions about what is allowed to be done with the relationship info, upon accepting a friend request.

Perhaps Facebook will eventually add yet another security/privacy sharing option, e.g., to specify that the scope of friendship is exclusively intra-Facebook or can be known more broadly, but in the meantime I believe Facebook is right to be conservative with sharing scope expansion for social networks, especially since many people tend to be unduly trusting when it comes to authorizing applications to use their Facebook profiles/network details/etc. 

This Facebook policy excerpt quote (from the source article linked at the end of this post) seems completely reasonable to me: “You cannot use a user’s friend list outside of your application, even if a user consents to such use, but you can use connections between users who have both connected to your application. (FPP II.11)”

Here’s the Open-Xchange response:

“If you want to see what a future looks like where a single company controls YOUR personal data for its own profit, this is a glimpse,” Open-Xchange CEO Rafael Laguna said in a statement. “Clearly, Facebook management does not want you to have the ability to take your personal information outside their walls to, say, Google+ and will do everything in their power to stop you, including violating their own terms and conditions. From a technical standpoint, Facebook’s claim of violation of terms is preposterous. All we are doing is using the Facebook API to extract the last name and first name fields. We are not parsing or scraping the email address. That same data is available on Facebook under Account->Account Settings->Download Your Information in the resulting friends.html file. This is not about user experience. It is about Facebook NOT wanting anyone to control their personal information - except Facebook.”

Facebook blocks Open-Xchange contact exporter tool | ZDNet

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