Déjà Vu? Facebook Blocks Another Contacts Exporter

For the second time in less than a week, Facebook pulled the plug on a tool that allows users to migrate their friend lists to other applications.

For the second time in less than a week, Facebook pulled the plug on a tool that allows users to migrate their friend lists to other applications.

This time, the “victim” was Open-Xchange, which creates open-source email and collaboration software, as CNET’s DeepTech reported that the social network disabled the application-programming interface behind a tool Open-Xchange created to extract the first and last names from Facebook users’ friend lists.

As reported by DeepTech, Facebook’s response to Open-Xchange was as follows:

1. 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)

2. A user’s friends’ data can only be used in the context of the user’s experience on your application. (FPP II.4)

Please note that we will not re-enable violating applications, and any policy issues in your existing and future apps will result in further enforcement actions.

Open-Xchange Chief Executive Officer Rafael Laguna responded to Facebook, as reported by DeepTech:

We are not aware of violating anything. We are using your API to extract the last-name and first-name fields. We are not parsing or scraping the email address. Those same data are available at your site under “Account->Account Settings->Download Your Information” in the resulting friends.html file.

Is there a way to get sanctioned or even paid access? You must have some kind of arrangement with Yahoo, which even has an import capability of not only the names, but also the Facebook e-mail addresses? How can Yahoo do it without violating points 1 and 2 above?

Last week, open-source software engineer Mohamed Mansour suffered a similar fate, as Facebook disabled the Friend Exporter Chrome extension, which enabled users to easily import all of their friend data into other applications, like Google+.

Readers, rhould Facebook users be able to extract data from their friend lists for use in other applications?