Facebook blocks exporter tools for Google+

Posted by Lydia Leavitt

Yesterday, TG Daily covered a new tool that allows Google+ users to update Facebook from within the rival social network.

Aware of Facebook's strict terms of use, we speculated that the Google+Facebook service would eventually be shut down.

Apparently, Facebook has already been actively blocking third party exporter tools designed to export contacts into other sites like Google+.

Although the Google+Facebook app has not yet been shut down by Facebook admininstrators, the social networking site has been busy shutting down tools that allow Facebook users to export their friend into other sites. The effort has been amped up since the inception of Google+.

For example, Open-Xchange, a service that allows Facebook users to export friend details into other products and services (think of it like one huge social address book), was blocked by the social network despite its claim that it followed Facebook's Terms and Conditions to a T.

According to ZDNet, Facebook emailed Open-Xchange stating:

We’re writing to inform you that your app Connector for ox.io has been disabled for the following violations:

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)

Our expectation is that developers do not provide users with poor experiences, such as those resulting from inappropriate or misleading content, privacy and security vulnerabilities, and general spam in the Stream, Requests, and elsewhere. We appreciate your commitment to improving the application ecosystem on Platform.

The folks at Open-Xchange are not only upset because Facebook banned what they believe is a legitimate product, but also because they believe it's about controlling personal information.

"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," Rafael Laguna, Open-Xchange CEO, 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," the CEO added.

The Open-XChange tool goes through the first 6,000 emails in an inbox for contacts and allows the user to merge the address book into Apple iCal, Gmail, Google+, Facebook, Outlook and others.

Open-Xchange claims that it's not scraping email addresses and that the same information is available on Facebook itself by going to Account->Account Settings->Download Your Information in the resulting friends.html file. The tool is built on Facebook's open API.

The CEO emphastically stated, "This is not about user experience. It is about Facebook NOT wanting anyone to control their personal information - except Facebook."

Facebook also blocked a Google Chrome extension called Facebook Friend Finder that allowed users to export Facebook contacts by email address, a tool which became exceedingly popular with the launch of Google+.

Considering both Open Open-Xchange and Facebook Friend Finder have been blocked since the inception of Google+, it seems like only a matter of time until Google+Facebook is also shut down (or blocked)in an attempt to keep the two social networks separate or perhaps to thwart Google+'s success - even if it means disregarding its own terms of service.

(Via ZDNet