Facebook and Scoble Square Off

Date Published: 04 January 2008

Facebook and Scoble Square Off

Like so many others have noted, I think 2008 and the next few years will see a shakeup in some of the “web 2.0” and social networking community sites. As evidence of this, I just read that Robert Scoble has run afoul of Facebook for running an automated script to suck down all of his contacts’ information, something prohibited by Facebook. As a result, they’ve apparently disabled his account. There’s a good writeup of this on Adotas (from computerworld):

Scoble Kicked Off Facebook for Downloading Content

Of course, such publicity is bad for Facebook, so not surprisingly, they’ve already re-enabled his account, according to another post on Robert’s blog.

As a user of services like Facebook, Flickr, LinkedIn, Plaxo, etc. I think it is worth thinking about who ultimately owns the data that I choose to enter into these systems. It’s not like I have the time to analyze every bit of each site’s EULA/TOS agreement (for which I would really need an attorney to do the job right), so for the most art I’m going to rely on these companies mostly doing the right thing by me because, as this example has shown, if they don’t the bad publicity will cost them dearly. Not that I have the kind of following that Scoble has, and not that that provides much solace for “joe user” who doesn’t have a blog or audience at all to cry foul to. Hence, the debate about how this data *should* be used and how users *should* be able to get access to their data in a portable format is a worthwhile one.

Steve Smith

About Ardalis

Software Architect

Steve is an experienced software architect and trainer, focusing on code quality and Domain-Driven Design with .NET.