Around the Net

Analysis: 'Open' Facebook Still Closed

Facebook may have made "a major move" on Monday by opening up the data on its site to third parties, "but the conversation on Facebook remains fundamentally closed due to extensive privacy limitations and the company's disinterest in overcoming those limitations in an appropriate way," says Read Write Web's Marshall Kirkpatrick. "Conversation on Facebook is no more easy to analyze today than it was yesterday; that's the real opportunity here, not just the ability to send and receive Facebook messages through different applications."

The really bad news for developers is that the data they are able to work with is severely limited due to privacy restrictions. Developers' apps and sites can only see the friend streams that they have permission to see, and the Terms of Service will prohibit eyes outside of a user's Facebook friends from seeing "the massive amounts of friend-limited data." Also, the data cannot be cached for later analysis, and the company isn't sure yet how far back in the archives access will be permitted.

"In other words, this is permission to build more interfaces for Facebook," Kirkpatrick says. "That's cool, but that's not really what the world needs -- more interfaces for giving Facebook love." What's needed, rather, is more sharing of that data, which Facebook has no intention of doing. "The data that Facebook controls, conversations and social connections, could be used for analysis of real-time social patterns which could lead to world-shaking new insights," Kirkpatrick argues. "Do we get access to that data? No. Why not? We don't get that access because Facebook was built on a fundamental promise of privacy and a complex system of privacy controls. Privacy is good, it's very good. But, the census gathers and exposes personal data without violating privacy. Lots of systems do."

Read the whole story at Read Write Web »

Next story loading loading..