Facebook blocks contact-exporting tool
Facebook has been blocking a tool intended to let people extract contact information their friends have shared with them, the tool's developer said today--but he's working on a way to evade Facebook's restrictions.
"Facebook is trying so hard to not allow you to export your friends. They started to remove e-mails of your friends from your profile by today July 5th 2011. It will no longer work for many people," warned Mohamed Mansour, developer of the Facebook Friend Exporter, a Chrome extension that automates the data extraction process.
The tool lets people save their contacts' e-mail addresses, birthdays, phone numbers, and other information into a text file or to directly import them into Gmail. That makes it much easier for Google account holders to rebuild their contact network at Google+, Google's brand-new social network site.
The activity surrounding the export tool spotlights the value of the data contained in social networks. Google believes people should be able to extract information about their contacts and provides tools to let people do so. Facebook, the incumbent power in social networking, provides only a tool to let people extract what they themselves have put into the network. The friend list it provides is a series of names in plain text--no contact information, and not even a link to their Facebook pages to help distinguish John Smith No. 1 from John Smith No. 2.