Webreakstuff blog

Facebook, Scoble and data portability


So if you’re on Techmeme or follow a few people on Twitter you probably know that Scoble’s account was deleted from Facebook for using an automated contact information script by Plaxo. Mike says that Plaxo’s wrong here by violating Facebook’s TOS and scraping data into their own system. Robert says (after being naively caught red-handed) that data should be free (he arrives late in the data portability game, but better late than never). Both of them have good points:

1) Plaxo was wrong in building a script that clearly goes against Facebook’s TOS. Despite the “good intentions” they might have by allowing their users to import data into Outlook from other systems, it’s still a clear violation.

2) Data should be free whenever possible and legal. If I’ve created content on a service and added value to it by doing so (posting photos on flickr, updating my status on twitter, videos on youtube or building my social graph on facebook), I should be able to get my data out. Not necessarily wipe it from the service itself (although that’s something I should be allowed) but at the very least export it in some meaningful format.

3) Facebook is wrong too for not allowing people to copy or move data out. It also feels a little odd that I can import GMail contacts into Facebook but can’t move anything out. People aren’t allowed to delete their facebook accounts either, so it does seem like once you’re in, you and your data are locked. Sometimes I wonder what facebook would be without mass.

John Furrier says 2008 will be the year of trust, and I’ve written about it a couple of weeks ago too. A lot of these problems need to be solved, and hopefully we’ll continue moving towards open systems and open data. But now, now we just need Facebook to change their data and privacy policy. First Beacon, now this.

  1. Bol-anon says: January 4, 200812:01 am

    Facebook still owns Scoble’s data. Facebook is free but that comes with terms of use. That’s the price of free account with Facebook.

  2. Khurt L Williams says: January 4, 200812:13 am

    Data portability has always been very import to me along with ease of use ( http://islandinthenet.com/2007/01/29/i-demand-ease-of-use/ ). I kept pulling more and more of my online life into facebook and only recently realized that none of my facebook data can be leverage elsewhere.

  3. Fred Oliveira says: January 4, 200812:45 am

    Thats the big question, Khurt. How much value are we adding, and what exactly are we getting in return from these providers? Honestly, the provider doesn’t really matter much to me – I’d choose to choose from facebook to something else faster than I would choose to lock down my data.

  4. Pages tagged "red-handed" says: January 7, 20082:16 am

    [...] online community. The best part is … it’s all 100% free! Check them out here: Join Hey Nielsen! Facebook, Scoble and data portability saved by 1 others     hinata1235 bookmarked on 01/06/08 | [...]

  5. Action Aggregate « The Web Laureate says: January 7, 20086:15 am

    [...] to Robert Scoble –The means, and Plaxo, not quite noble –For elevating the conversationOf social network aggregation,As well as social network data portability…For this I, and we, [...]

  6. Chris Mowforth says: January 8, 20083:43 pm

    Zuckerberg = Gates2.0

    Or am I just being cynical?

  7. [...] with them a ‘need’ to export this kind of data (the tech folk niche and intrinsic early adopter habits don’t count for much in my opinion), these initiatives can’t fulfill everything their [...]

  8. Emygdio says: January 27, 20085:03 am

    Social network sites huh? … just take a peek at this …


    Scary? .. makes you think ;)

  9. [...] 3rd 2008 7:31pm [-] From: blog.webreakstuff.com [...]

  10. [...] to Robert Scoble — The means, and Plaxo, not quite noble — For elevating the conversation Of social network aggregation, As well as social network data portability… For this I, and [...]

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