In the past week, Facebook has prevented multiple services from using its Social Graph. It wants to keep its most precious data—knowing who people’s true friends are—out of competitor’s hands.Other companies often implement Facebook’s “Find Friends” feature into their signup processes. Products are more enjoyable to use when people you know are using them too. Twitter used to use Find Friends to suggest people to follow. Path uses it to show which of your friends are already on the service.
But apparently Facebook has had enough. It’s utilising a line in its platform policy that states, “Competing social networks: (a) You may not use Facebook Platform to export user data into a competing social network without our permission.”
In the past few days, Facebook has prevented a voice-messaging app, Voxer, from utilising Find Friends. It also blocked Twitter’s new animated-GIF-style video app, Vine, from using its data.
Most recently, Facebook cut off a new social search app released by Yandex called Wonder just three hours after it launched. Yandex begged for its life; Facebook didn’t care.
Facebook told TechCrunch it cuts off companies who are either competitors, or who contribute little back to Facebook.
Is it smart for Facebook to hoard its social data?
It depends how strict Facebook becomes. It could prevent competitors from using Facebook to their advantage, but it could also deter startups from building on its platform. A lot of new companies require Facebook’s data and Find Friends feature to make their products worth while to early users.
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