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Facebook Blocks Twitter. Is a Lawsuit Next?




Just minutes after Twitter announced a feature to see which of your Facebook friends are on Twitter, Facebook blocked it!

Now, thanks to Techdirt, we can see that this is not just some harmless mistake. Facebook does not want you having access to the data you’ve worked hard to compile. In other words, if you try to access any of your Facebook data via a 3rd-party app then the social network won’t just block you, it may sue you!

We’ve been following the rather bizarre and dangerous lawsuit filed by Facebook against Power.com, an online service that tries to let users aggregate various social networking activity into a single service. All Power.com does is let a willing user have Power.com’s tools log into Facebook and reuse/reformat the data within its own framework. From a user’s perspective, this could be quite useful. From Facebook’s perspective this is both a violation of copyright law and a violation of computer hacking laws. Why? Because Facebook says so. That is, it says so in its terms of service, and it’s arguing that in ignoring the terms of service, Power.com is criminally hacking.

And, that is exactly what Twitter just attempted to do with its new feature!

Two questions are now raised?

1. Will Facebook sue Twitter? Doubtful, but if the company allows Twitter to have this kind of access, does it weaken its case against Power.com?

2. Did you know that you can’t use another service to access what’s really your own data anyway?

  • http://www.cassvillemarketing.com/ Vlad Zablotskyy

    Interesting. What about apps like Seesmic? Is this only about web based services? Why not allowing users to decide what services or app can use your data.

    • http://www.marketingpilgrim.com Andy Beal

      Yeah, it will be interesting to see how Facebook justifies blocking one app but not another.

  • Bob

    What Facebook is saying by way of lawsuit is that you don’t own the information you post to your profile. Ipso facto you cannot access it through a third-party that Facebook hasn’t approved [read: contracted in a way that makes FB money].

    Ownership of information without control over it isn’t really ownership. There is the potential for a dangerous precedent regarding individual privacy rights vs. corporate power.

  • http://www.frankthinking.com Frank Reed

    Do you get the feeling that eventually Facebook is going to step into a pile of something that they won’t just be able to shake off their foot? In other words, if they keep pushing these boundaries could they end up starting their own downfall? It seems unlikely but I have heard VERY successful businessmen say that every single business, regardless of size and influence is just 90 days away from extinction. Facebook is no different.

    Considering the asinine statements coming from this group (like COO Sheryl Sandberg saying at a Nielsen conference that “So email (I can’t imagine life without it) is probably going away.”), I think there could be more trouble at Facebook than we ever imagined.

    Of course, I could be completely wrong, too, so there you go!

  • http://traffic-jockey.com Jamie Barclay

    Very interesting how facebook will handle this. I am wondering if this will cause another lawsuit.. Let’s just wait and see then

  • http://courtneyengle.com Courtney Engle

    I wish Facebook would see the leverage of connecting in this way. I believe both can clearly coexist without viewing everything as competition.

  • http://www.comparereviews.co.uk Sara Dalton

    It would be a discrimination if facebook doesn’t file a lawsuit against twitter or they should withdraw their case against power.com. let’s see what happens.

  • http://www.makemoneyonline.pk jimmy41687

    Well as we all know that facebook is one of the CIA site to get the personal information of the user and even they dont let user to delete their account so thats no big surprise for me that facebook dont let 3rd party to access it database

  • http://www.piyushaggarwal.com Piyush Aggarwal

    nobody is thinking about the customer. in the era of open web, it is futile to keep the walls as high as facebook wants. this might just start a new debate of whether API’s on social web would become paid? if that is the case then we are heading a catastrophe era.

  • http://www.sportswagersource.com/ sports wager

    I think Facebook is out to conquer the world, they don’t really care about it’s users, they just want to have as many users as they can, and take as much information from them.