Google on Monday launched Friend Connect, APIs for accessing data from Facebook and other social networks. By Thursday, Facebook banned the access, saying the tools don’t let its users know their data is being scanned.
A post by Facebook’s Charlie Cheever on the Facebook Developers blog Thursday morning explained the position. “We’ve found that [Friend Connect] redistributes user information from Facebook to other developers without users’ knowledge, which doesn’t respect the privacy standards our users have come to expect and is a violation of our Terms of Service.” It will suspend Friend Connect access to Facebook user information but work with Web search giant company until “it comes into compliance.”
MySpace last week launched Data Availability, which performs a similar function to Friend Connect, but received no such rebuff.
MySpace is one of more than a dozen companies that has signed onto OpenSocial, a project led by Google to develop a set of common APIs for social networks. To date, Facebook has resisted participation in OpenSocial, fueling speculation that Google could pose a threat to Facebook and its developer participation.
According to a piece on TechCrunch, the issue centers on the way Friend Connect positions itself in regard to Facebook and third-party sites that wish to extract Facebook’s social data. Google becomes a sort of go-between, brokering data from one site to the other. Once permission is given by a Facebook user, the article further states, it cannot be taken away from within Facebook.com; it requires accessing a Google form. Facebook and Google are reportedly in talks to resolve the issues.