Tech blogger kicked off Facebook for downloading his on content.

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The Facebook account of Robert Scoble has been disabled, after the
prominent tech blogger tried to download his contacts from the social
network, a move that is shining a spotlight on data portability in the
Web 2.0 world.

In a blog post on Thursday, Scoble said that he was running a script
to move content from his Facebook profile to other places, an action
that is not allowed under Facebook’s terms of service.

Scoble was using an unreleased feature of Plaxo Pulse, a social
network based on email address books, to import names, email addresses
and birthdays from Facebook, he noted in a subsequent blog post. The
tool noted that of Scoble’s 5,000 Facebook contacts, 1,800 were
already using Plaxo.

[The importer] did not look at anything else. Just this stuff. No
personal information,” Scoble wrote. “I wanted to get all my contacts
into my Microsoft Outlook address book and hook them up with the Plaxo
system, which 1,800 of my friends are already on. It’s ironic that you
can import your Gmail address book into Facebook but you can’t export
back out.”

An e-mail from Facebook’s customer service team that Scoble posted on
his blog said it had determined that Scoble was “viewing pages at a
quick enough rate that we suspect you may be running an automated

The note asked Scoble to confirm that he would not “scrape” content
from Facebook or attempt to take it in any other way.

Mike Butcher, a blogger with TechCrunch UK, predicted that the
portability of data on social networks will be a big issue in 2008.

The disabling of Scoble’s Facebook account “will fire the starting gun
on all the debates about who owns your data on a social network,
debates which — till now — have seemed rather theoretical,” Butcher
said. He suggested that such actions “could even lead to a revolt
amongst some Facebook users. The storm that is brewing will not take
long to reach Facebook’s most senior people.”

A Facebook group that formed to protest Scoble being kicked off the
social network already had more than 100 members by Thursday morning.

Scoble also noted that the Facebook action prompted him to join a
group at that is working to create standards that
will allow users of social networks to port their own content to
multiple locations.

In a blog post, Chris Saad, co-founder and CEO of Faraday Media and an
organizer of the data portability group, said he welcomed the debate.

“We own our own social graph data — and we also own all our other
data,” he wrote in a blog. “We all know this is just the latest in a
long line of problems that are emerging in 2008 and beyond — so it’s
great to have the Scobleizer championing the cause for all the
standards groups out there. Now with Robert and other great bloggers
on our side helping to spread the word … we have a real chance of
helping each of the standards communities get the level of adoption
they deserve by putting this all in end-to-end context.”

About Faisal Ebrahim

Tech enthusiast, IT & Cybersecurity consultant & Sales manager. I'm passionate about staying ahead of the curve on emerging technologies, including EVs, AI, robotics, and the metaverse. For over 15 years, I've explored and shared these innovations on my blog,

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