Facebook Unfriends Third-Party Friend Exporter

Mark Zuckerberg may be the most-followed Google Plus user, but that doesn't mean the relationship between the established social network and the search engine giant's upstart is all peaches and cream.

Mark Zuckerberg may be the most-followed Google Plus user, but that doesn’t mean the relationship between the established social network and the search engine giant’s upstart is all peaches and cream.

Open-source software engineer Mohamed Mansour developed Chrome extension Facebook Friend Exporter to allow Facebook users to easily import all of their friend data into other applications, like Google Plus, but, as reported by ZDNet’s Friending Facebook blog and CNET’s DeepTech, the extension is being blocked by the leading social network.

Facebook Friend Exporter was not developed specifically for Google Plus. According to CNET, the extension works by allowing users of the social network to save their contacts’ email addresses, birthdays, phone numbers, and other information as text files, or to import them directly into Gmail, simplifying the process of rebuilding a contact network.

Mansour posted on the Facebook Friend Exporter page:

Facebook is trying so hard to not allow you to export your friends. They started to remove emails of your friends from your profile by today, July 5, 2011. It will no longer work for many people. New version with a different design is currently deploying. You might have to do exports daily. It uses a different approach, and I will maintain this version. Just bear with me.

And he added, on his Google Plus profile:

This is what happens when your extension becomes famous : sigh. Facebook just removed the emails from their mobile site. They implemented a throttling mechanism that if you visit your ~5 friends in a short period of time, it will remove the email field.

No worries, a new version is on the making … I am bloody annoyed now, because this proves that Facebook owns every user’s data on Facebook. You don’t own anything! If I were you, I would riot this to the media outlets again.

Seriously … more motivation to figure out a different approach.

He told ZDNet in an email:

Facebook is actually hiding data (email) from you to see when your friends explicitly shared that to you. Making it really hard to scrape because the only missing data is your emails, and that is your friends identity. Nothing else is.

However, CNET pointed out that the extension clashes with Section 3.2 of Facebook’s terms of service:

You will not collect users’ content or information, or otherwise access Facebook, using automated means (such as harvesting bots, robots, spiders, or scrapers) without our permission.

Readers, should Facebook allow users to import their friends’ contact information and other data for use in other applications?