And so the fun ride to a true open Social Web begins. The news is out that Facebook has banned Google's Friend Connect access to the Facebook API. Why? Apparently after reviewing it's capabilities, Facebook has determined Friend Connect violates a number of it's Terms of Service. Is it all just a ploy to stop Google in their open social tracks? Or this there really something amiss in privacy land?
According to Michael Arrington's blog on TechCrunch, Facebook wrote a 7 paragraph long blog discussing the decision to ban Google's Friend Connect. Facebook said that Friend Connect, "redistributes user information from Facebook to other developers without users’ knowledge." They reference several of their Developer Terms of Service: out Sections 2B(4), 2B(5) and 2A9(vi). Not a good thing. But is it really true? Just the Facts Please Arrington had the opportunity to speak with Facebook's Chief Privacy Officer Chris Kelly and Google’s Director of Engineering David Glazer to get a real he said/she said scope.
On the Facebook side, Kelly says the issue surrounds the fact that Facebook users cannot revoke permissions to view their data from their Facebook account like they do with all their other applications. In short, they have no relationship with the end site, Google does.
For their part, Google's Glazer says the ability to unlink a site that the user has given permission to happens on that web site directly (see sample below):
So maybe it is just a game of who has the end relationship - because that's the key to the power isn't it?
Facebook's blog indicates that they have "reached out to Google several times about this issue, and hope to work with them to enable users to share their data exactly when and where they choose." Just how soon do you think those "friendly" conversations will take place.
Between Facebook's own Facebook Connect, Google's Friend Connect and MySpace's Data Availability initiative, we knew it was only a matter of time before the fighting began. How much do you want to bet that this issue will be resolved within days only to hear that each party is still scheming behind the scenes to figure out how to get rid of the other once and for all?