While I’m looking up my window waiting for the darn rain to start already another storm hit in the vicinity of Palo Alto, also known as Twitterland.
You might want to be seated for this one.
Robert Scoble, yes, Scobleizer himself, has been booted off The Book (update: I started writing this post this morning, by the time I got around to finishing it…he’s been reinstated).
Oh holy mother of…
From what I could gather from all the twitter-geekish speak it was for violation of Facebook’s terms, and in particular, running a script. Scoble was apparently using a Plaxo Pulse feature that would import Facebook contacts’ birthdays and email addresses.
(If you are reading this outside of Palo Alto, this *is* breaking news, don’t you know?)
The news caused a Twitter-storm and left someTwiterati wondering why this is causing so much noise, even more so than when Scoble got a new gig.
So here’s my contribution to the Storm:
“This is spam behavior. If they allow it for him they have to allow it for the spammers. I’m glad they don’t allow you to do this. I have 4,200 contacts: each added one at a time.”
That’s a side point, actually, but the thought just kinda came to mind.
I’m not going to argue the difference here. One’s importing, the other is exporting.
What is spam behavior? I have nothing against Robert Scoble and I appreciate his updates on my Facebook feed, but since he does claim to manually add each item from his address book, why run this script now? Why not import his Facebook contacts into Plaxo one by one as well?
I was never good at understanding double standards.
Oh wait. It’s about data portability.
My two cents: ends, for whatever cause, for spam or data portability, don’t always justify means, especially considering the fact that bots really can’t distinguish one from the other. That said, I don’t agree with Facebook’s heavy handed dealing with Robert or with Harry. Users deserve some sort of warning, and I believe that warning note will distinguish what’s spam behavior and the greater good (provided of course it’s in line with Facebook’s definition of The Greater Good).
The other two cents: why all the noise about Robert Scoble getting shut down? I really couldn’t care less about Robert Scoble’s Facebook account, but I think the incident left some of members/users feeling vulnerable. If it happened to Scobleizer, what about everyone else? All the content, connections…poof.
Gone. Just like that.
What can we learn from this incident?
- The importance of real connections. The true test of a real connection? They are redundant. Facebook shouldn’t be the only place where you are connected with your “real” contacts. You e-mail your contacts, you call them. You already have their phone numbers. You may twitter with them. You see them in community events. You read their blog feeds. Losing Facebook shouldn’t mean anything more than the inconvenience of losing a utility.
- That Facebook is just an aggregator for your connections. Facebook isn’t your network.
- I’d like to take credit for the following thoughts, but I think they say it better:
“We complain about FB’s beacon, yet, we should be JUST as concerned as a 5XWhale grabbing our data and using it without our specific consent.”
– Jeremiah Owyang via Twitter.
“..Plaxo started running automated scripts against Facebook without any warning or discussion with them beforehand, in violation of their terms of service and, I’ll add, common sense. Of course users were shut down. Facebook must regulate this kind of behavior, without it the service would crumble.
“Beyond the automated script issue, Facebook also has a very good reason for protecting email addresses – user privacy. Robert Scoble may be perfectly fine with having my contact information be easily downloaded from Facebook, but I may not be. Ultimately it should be me that decides, not him.”
– Michael Arrington, on TechCrunch
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