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Google Asks Users To Complain Against Facebook 218

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the battle-of-the-billions dept.
dkd903 writes "A kind of war has been going on recently between Facebook and Google over a contact export issue. First, Google blocked Facebook access to the Gmail contacts API. To this, Facebook responded back with a new method to get Gmail contacts of a user (the download contacts option). And now Google has slapped back again at Facebook and asks users indirectly to file a data protectionism complaint against Facebook. When a Facebook user clicks on the Download Your Contacts button on the 'Facebook import contact via Gmail' page, the user is then redirected to a new page on Google's server, which looks something like this..." Can I just say that watching this is absolutely hysterical?
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Google Asks Users To Complain Against Facebook

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  • Suck it up Zuck. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by unity100 (970058) on Wednesday November 10, 2010 @01:01PM (#34187596) Homepage Journal
    yeah zuckerberg. suck it up. you rode on the web culture getting to where you are. you cannot just go protectionist on us and become a control freak. share data, as others share data with you.
    • by Pojut (1027544) on Wednesday November 10, 2010 @01:05PM (#34187636) Homepage

      This whole Google/Facebook thing is just yet another example of how greed directly impacts user experiences.

      I just wish they would get their pissing match done with and play nice. Seriously. This isn't doing ANYONE any good.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 10, 2010 @01:08PM (#34187674)

        No worse than trying to watch TV with huge scrolling banners over it whining about how this station won't renew their contract, superimposed by the cable company over the station's huge scrolling banner whining about how the cable company is screwing them.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        It's not doing any harm, either, since facebook is useless. So don't be mean and let the children play...
      • by Stregano (1285764) on Wednesday November 10, 2010 @02:05PM (#34188274)
        Actually this is doing me a great deal of good since I know my contact information will not be floating on facebook from g-mail users
      • by MoonBuggy (611105) on Wednesday November 10, 2010 @02:12PM (#34188342) Journal

        I just wish they would get their pissing match done with and play nice. Seriously. This isn't doing ANYONE any good.

        They may be doing it for entirely selfish reasons, but the fact of the matter is that Google are bringing forward the argument about open access to one's data.

        Many thousands of people who's eyes would glaze over at the mere mention of open document formats or API interoperability are being told in no uncertain terms that their data will be trapped by a non-open service, and that this can lead to bad things further down the line.

        Now if only Google considered it profitable to make a similar stand against those manufacturers who decide to treat the end user as an adversary in terms of access to their own device, we might really get somewhere.

        • by ByOhTek (1181381)

          While interesting - in the end, it won't prevent me from getting my data off GMail, and facebook cannot/will not supplant GMail, so it can't actually make me lose access to my data.

          If it were another email provider, I would be a bit worried, but as of yet, not so much.

          What worries me, is that FB asks for my email address and password with stuff like that. Seriously, it's sad that people are dumb enough to give 3rd parties their site login/pass.

          • by geekoid (135745)

            We aren't talking about your data, we are talking about the data of all your contacts. Do they want their info on facebook? do they want it put there by you?

            • It doesn't "put their info on facebook," it just scans your contacts and shows you if any of them have facebook accounts that you haven't befriended.
              • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

                by revlayle (964221)
                Then once they are friended to you in the system, the collection of information that builds about your contacts/friends on FB becomed "trapped" in the FB system. Of course, you can always "hand-copy" lots of it to another system, but you cannot simply get a data file or export of you contacts/friends that are on FB into an easily portable format to put in another system. Conversely, FB doesn't think it is a problem that they can import the data from many other places to easily start your collection of frie
              • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                by BlackSnake112 (912158)

                Actually facebook keeps the data and sells it to their 'partners'. Who in turn sell that info to their partners. And so on.

                I found this out when I was getting my info removed for a people info database. They got the info about me from facebook. I do not now or have ever had a facebook account. My sister does have a facebook account. All of her contacts were in that people data website. It took a few phone calls, emails, and threats to contact the state attorney general office to get it removed.

            • by ByOhTek (1181381)

              Well, that's completely non sequitur to the person I was replying to and the message displayed by Google, isn't it?

          • You don't need to provide your password for Facebook to access your Google contacts. That's the whole point of the situation. Google provides a mechanism to export your contacts if you authorize a website to access them (in a manner similar to OAuth I suppose). Facebook doesn't, so any new contact information is trapped there unless you spend a long night with copy/paste.
            • by ByOhTek (1181381)

              Oh, ok. With a similar "feature" on Facebook, you do. It's scary that many people I know who are supposed to be techies (one, who I know actually isn't, but seems to think he is because he own's a Mac rather than a PC...) use it.

      • I just can't stand it when people make these "everybody get along" type statements..

        You know, without measuring the merit of either side of the argument, and just taking the hippie approach doesn't do any good. The fact is, Google is defending the users by placing a small optional embargo against facebook in hopes that facebook will do something nice for users- and yes, for google as well.

        In other words, it can do good for somebody.
      • Re:Suck it up Zuck. (Score:5, Interesting)

        by icebike (68054) on Wednesday November 10, 2010 @02:23PM (#34188462)

        Really? It does me good.

        I'm sick of getting facebook invites because some fool with my address in his address book decided to upload the entire list to facebook, without so much as a "by your leave".

        My address(s) live quietly in lots of people's google contacts and I get no spam at all from that. Yet ONE person uploads that to facebook and facebook themselves start spamming me, followed in rapid succession by pill pushers and foreign diplomats, dethroned princes, and ousted former heads of state, all with lots of money they want to share with me.

        I fail to see the greed tie in here.

      • I just wish they would get their pissing match done with and play nice. Seriously. This isn't doing ANYONE any good.

        That is exactly the same sentiment of users over a similar dispute going on in China [slashdot.org].

      • Re:Suck it up Zuck. (Score:5, Interesting)

        by poetmatt (793785) on Wednesday November 10, 2010 @03:17PM (#34189038) Journal

        do you even know what you're talking about?

        google wants data to be bidirectional - you can take your information out of facebook, you can take your information into facebook.

        It's google trying to get facebook to acknowledge better privacy standards.

      • by david_thornley (598059) on Wednesday November 10, 2010 @04:23PM (#34189660)

        Seriously. This isn't doing ANYONE any good.

        Are you kidding? It's making it more difficult for Facebook users to mail out Facebook invites to everybody in their contacts list. That's doing a lot of people a lot of good.

    • by thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [esidarap.cram]> on Wednesday November 10, 2010 @01:07PM (#34187660) Homepage Journal
      Actually, he/they are successfully doing just that because most users don't know or care . This is an interesting move on Google's part, in that it actually increases awareness. Still, that being said, I suspect the average response would be [for those who bother to read it and don't just find the easiest way to click through - the typical response to *any* 'helpful interferences'] "Um, ok. Why would I want to to take my facebook info somewhere else? It's facebook."
      • Re:Suck it up Zuck. (Score:5, Informative)

        by bhagwad (1426855) on Wednesday November 10, 2010 @01:10PM (#34187712) Homepage
        If you want to register a complaint, here is the page where Google allows you to do so: http://www.google.com/mail/help/contacts_export_confirm.html [google.com]
        • First, that's in TFA (if that qualifies as an "article") itself. Second, see my other comment on this article -- what good does this do? Submits an anonymous complaint to Facebook - I'm sure that'll fix them right up!

          If you want them to change, get a few million people to stop using Facebook until they do. Unless that happens, it's entirely up to what FB is willing to do in the name of good PR.

        • by qubezz (520511) on Wednesday November 10, 2010 @01:32PM (#34187934)

          In fact, Google is doing a very good thing by aggravating Facebook.

          Consider the stupidity of giving Facebook your email username and password, so that Facebook can log in to your email account as you, and scrape all your contact info. (While they are at it, why don't they get your emails too...) They've conned people into doing just that.

          If you have any contact with a Gmail account user, Facebook gets your email address when the user sheepishly turn over their contact list to Facebook to automatically 'find friends'. If Facebook didn't already amass data on unwilling non-users (thanks to picture tags and such), they now have a wealth of email information about who knows who. And don't forget, their profit model is selling your privacy.

          Google should make it possible to permanently blacklist your email address from its 'export' feature through a web form, even if you have a non-gmail address, so that your gmail 'friends' can't offer up your email address out of their contact lists to third parties.

          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by BlackPignouf (1017012)

            I totally agree with what you say.

            Facebook does know a lot of stuff about a lot of people, and I totally understand that it can piss the Slashdot crowd off.

            BUT, Google knows a lot more stuff about a lot more people.

            For example, Facebook knows which kind of Pizzas I prefer and which skateboard videos I like to share, but that's about it.

            On the other hand, Google :
            - can read my e-mails
            - can look at my calendar
            - knows my bank account number
            - knows my address and my telephone number. Ditto my girlfriend's, my p

            • Facebook knows a lot more than you think, and they know a lot more about you than Google.

              The stuff Google knows about is things on aggregate. They don't and can't "read your emails". The stuff Facebook knows is based on social networks, and very intimate.

              Facebook knows what religion you are affiliated with, what part you vote for, what area of the city you live in, where you like to shop, where you work, etc. It knows your music preferences, movie preferences, and if you are likely to be a racist. And it kn

              • They can't read my emails? Unless I'm mistaken, don't they control the servers my email is stored on?

          • by Ken D (100098) on Wednesday November 10, 2010 @03:09PM (#34188940)

            Wouldn't giving Facebook your username and password be a violation of the following clause from Gmail's TOS?

            # Sell, trade, resell or otherwise exploit for any unauthorized commercial purpose or transfer any Gmail account

            or perhaps (since contacts include email addresses)

            Generate or facilitate unsolicited commercial email ("spam"). Such activity includes, but is not limited to

            ...
            # data mining any web property (including Google) to find email addresses

            ...
            # selling, exchanging or distributing to a third party the email addresses of any person without such person's knowing and continued consent to such disclosure

          • Re:Suck it up Zuck. (Score:4, Informative)

            by Nadaka (224565) on Wednesday November 10, 2010 @03:12PM (#34188982)

            Last I checked, you don't actually have to give facebook your login credentials for gmail or yahoo, both gmail and yahoo have an api for exporting contacts. You won't be prompted for your username/password if you are already logged into your email.

            Linkedin however does ask for your username and password.

            • by AusIV (950840)

              You won't be prompted for your username/password if you are already logged into your email.

              And I believe if you are prompted for your username/password it will be by your e-mail provider, not by Facebook.

          • by Garabito (720521)

            (While they are at it, why don't they get your emails too...)

            Sadly, Facebook could do it and most people wouldn't care. They'd be excited they can see their e-mails in their inbox, without having to go to the GMail website, and be able to post their e-mails on their walls so their friends can 'Like' 'em and post comments about them... Maybe I just shut up and stop giving them ideas.

    • by eldavojohn (898314) * <.moc.liamg. .ta. .nhojovadle.> on Wednesday November 10, 2010 @01:17PM (#34187794) Journal

      yeah zuckerberg. suck it up. you rode on the web culture getting to where you are. you cannot just go protectionist on us and become a control freak. share data, as others share data with you.

      Google told me to complain to Facebook so I did. Then all my friends asked me why I was posting images of child porn on my Facebook wall. So I went back to Google and complained about that and now a Google van slowly circles my house twenty four hours everyday. I went on Google maps to look at my house but there's just an image of a smoldering crater and a Jolly Roger. I logged back on to Facebook and Zuckerberg had killed my farmer and was raping my livestock as the fields burned.

      I'm scared. I don't think I'll get in the middle of this kinda stuff next time. You can have all my data locked up, I just want my Farmville to be okay! Why, piggy, why!? I loveded you, I loveded you piggy!

  • by bhagwad (1426855) on Wednesday November 10, 2010 @01:08PM (#34187672) Homepage
    Just registered a complaint. This is the right thing to do. People and corporations must be made aware that they have no right to hang on to user's personal data without giving them the choice to export it in an easy and convenient way.
    • by thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [esidarap.cram]> on Wednesday November 10, 2010 @01:15PM (#34187768) Homepage Journal

      Just registered a complaint. This is the right thing to do. People and corporations must be made aware that they have no right to hang on to user's personal data without giving them the choice to export it in an easy and convenient way.

      The question is, what did registering a complaint do? Your name and email are not attached, so what good, exactly, is that complaint supposed to do except allow google to say "X number of users complained about your unfair practices, so there!" Oh, wait - it goes to Facebook. Who has already demonstrated that it doesn't really care about this issue... and successfully so, since most people are happily continuing to use Facebook in spite of it .

      Basically it comes down to whether Zuckerberg decides if he cares about the bad PR. If he doesn't, too bad -- unless you and a couple hundred million others are going to stop using Facebook in protest.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Dashiva Dan (1786136)
        If google gets, say, a million complaints sent through, and facebook does nothing, then the Google can make public "We forwarded a million complaints, and facebook did nothing", which, if timed correctly, probably as facebook makes some "we listen to our users, if 100,000 people ask for something, then we do it" type publicity, google can trot this out... Not saying they would, or should need to, but it's hanging over facebook's head unless they deal with it. Google is just being the 'big backer' for our co
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          It won't hurt, that's true. And FB ignoring it does cast Google in a positive light; I'm just saying that they don't have the leverage they need to force Facebook's hand. As long as FB isn't losing a significant number of users (and given their user base, that would need to be quite a lot) all Google can *actually* do is give Facebook some bad PR that will be forgotten in a month anyway.

          Since I'm not particularly invested in either side of this, I have to agree with the poster: watching all this chest-th

    • by Eil (82413) on Wednesday November 10, 2010 @01:17PM (#34187788) Homepage Journal

      People and corporations must be made aware that they have no right to hang on to user's personal data without giving them the choice to export it in an easy and convenient way.

      People must be made aware that they have the right to not submit personal data in the first place.

    • by RevWaldo (1186281)
      And if the users of either service were actually paying money for them, you'd might actually be right.

      .
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by MozeeToby (1163751)

      So wait... how exactly can I view, let alone export, all the personal data that Google has collected on me over the years? What if I want to switch to a different search engine but don't want to lose all the behind the scenes tweaking that can be done with a good decades worth of search history?

  • by iluvcapra (782887) on Wednesday November 10, 2010 @01:09PM (#34187694)

    Can I just say that watching his is absolutely hysterical?

    Can I just say that watching the founder of slashdot attempt to type a typo- and misspelling-free sentence is absolutely hysterical?

  • These are the kinds of epic hypocritical arguments that rend holes in the space-time fabric. It feels like my head is going to explode.

  • Unnecessary (Score:5, Funny)

    by The Yuckinator (898499) on Wednesday November 10, 2010 @01:10PM (#34187716)

    I don't need Google to tell me to not like Facebook.

  • Can I just say... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RapmasterT (787426) on Wednesday November 10, 2010 @01:11PM (#34187718)
    ...that since I don't have a Facebook account, it's less hysterical to me, and more like watching retarded monkeys fling feces at each other, but miss (because they're retarded) so nothing actually interesting ever happens.

    I gotta admit I don't get the whole Facebook thing. It seems like just another in the long string of hot social thing of the moment that's going to be supplanted by the next hot social thing of the moment in 3...2...1...
    • like watching retarded monkeys fling feces at each other, but miss (because they're retarded) so nothing actually interesting ever happens.

      Nothing interesting? People would line up around the block to see a show like that!

    • by ferrocene (203243)

      Yeah, it's pretty much a fad, just like YouTube, Slashdot, Firefox, Ubuntu, Flickr, Blogger, Wordpress, Twitter and pretty much any other website that has 500 million active users.

    • by Americano (920576)

      Please name the services you foresee overtaking Facebook, rather than simply being bought out / incorporated into Facebook's platform?

      Foursquare/Gowalla - with their location-based / mobile services, have been neatly sidestepped by Facebook Places;

      Myspace? Well past its prime.

      Orkut? Never been a serious contender outside of a few countries (Brazil, India, mostly I believe - and even there, I'd say that rumors of Facebook's demise are greatly exaggerated).

      Diaspora, or Appleseed? It'll be the "Year of..."

    • by blair1q (305137)

      Dude. I'm not even on your lawn.

  • ....then everyone gets all of your private information...and your friends' private information....and their friends' private information
    • by bonch (38532)

      Puts too much control in the user's hands. Better to drive a van around town "accidentally" collecting your emails and passwords over the course of three years.

  • I loved how I was able to auto-add friends based on my Gmail contacts. It saved me so much time searching and adding manually. I still love how the picture from Facebook is integrated into my contacts automatically on my phone. I'm sure there are other examples I'm overlooking as well. The bottom line is, the data in my contacts in mine. The data on my Facebook site is mine. I'm accepting the risk by sharing the credentials of either site with the other. Take your turf war elsewhere guys and let me
  • by should_be_linear (779431) on Wednesday November 10, 2010 @01:27PM (#34187884)
    Google must be concerned because FB is becoming so big that it looks like Internet 2.0 itself. I bet search volume on FB is getting close to Google.com, and this is not even core business for FB. I hate FB as much as anyone else, but Larry or Sergey should take all their money and buy FB if they don't want to become "that other Internet company".
    • by Triv (181010) on Wednesday November 10, 2010 @02:34PM (#34188576) Journal

      I bet search volume on FB is getting close to Google.com, and this is not even core business for FB.

      You spend WAAAAAAAAAY too much time on Facebook if your perspective on their share of the internet search market is that narrow.

      Facebook, as of February, was sitting at 700 status updates a second. Know how many google searches were made every second as of February? 34,000.

      So no, not close. Not even close to close.

      • by Ibag (101144)

        Except that there is a lot more to do on facebook than status updates (e.g. looking at other people's status updates, playing games, and slowly eroding your privacy in ways you can't even fathom). The number of status updates on FB is NOT the number of searches people do. For the marketing people, a better metric would be "amount of time spent on the site", which is proportional to how much time you spend look at adds. For direct search comparison purposes, status updates is not a good stand in.

        So maybe

  • Seems like they should stop all of this foreplay and just get a room already.
    • by Americano (920576)

      And watch for the results of that in an adult video section near you:

      "DP Debutantes, Vol. 2: Google and Facebook give Your Privacy the double-teaming it's been dying for!"

      Coming soon!

  • Can I just say that watching this is absolutely hysterical?

    I doubt it will as funny 'Taco, when Google decide to pull the same stunt with Slashdot. We're witnessing a pivot event in that companies history and culture.

    This is the first time Google has ever actually attempted to wield power. What happens if they find they like it?

    • by anyGould (1295481)

      This is the first time Google has ever actually attempted to wield power. What happens if they find they like it?

      I'm not sure how much of an Evil Move this is. To me it's looking like they're trying to stop Facebook from running an "embrace and extend" gambit, where FB lets everything in and nothing out. Considering they're both starting to compete in the social market, I can't say I wouldn't be having the same response to a competitor who wants everything going in one direction.

      A proper power move would have been a small tweak that breaks the API when Facebook calls. Make the error message imply that it's a problem o

    • by Chapter80 (926879) on Wednesday November 10, 2010 @03:10PM (#34188958)

      This is the first time Google has ever actually attempted to wield power.

      Huh?

      Net Neutrality [google.com], Spectrum Auction [cnet.com], Defining the mobile platform [wikipedia.org], and battling Microsoft [google.com] all immediately come to mind as times that Google has attempted to wield power.

      I'm sure we could come up with others [pcworld.com] if we thought about it.

  • Not apples to apples (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jfine (1938120) on Wednesday November 10, 2010 @01:52PM (#34188144)
    I can certainly appreciate Google's stance on the subject. I've been saying for years its reprehensible how Facebook acts as a one way silo for personal information. They've gotten a bit better about it but only after getting raked over the preverbal coals for months and months. Frankly I don't trust Facebook as far as I can throw them which at their current size is close to nothing. Facebook has demonstrated time and time again that their focus is not on protecting users and providing value to the web. In fact quite the opposite, to move towards a AOLy version of the web where Facebook is the web. They're only as "open" as much as it benefits them, ie reduced PR exposure or added page views or users. However, this comparison is not an apples to apples. It is my understanding (and I could be wrong or things could have changed as they do on almost a daily basis at Facebook) that when you "import" friends from Google (or any other service) that Facebook is simply providing a matching service and only adding friends if they exist on Facebook. They are not acting as a contact list provider in the sense that I can not import my dogs website nor change my friends phone number if I like to use his home number instead of his cell number for his main number etc. Although it could be agreed that with all your friends on Facebook they are by default playing the roll of contact list and are not being fairly bi-directional. Facebook wants you messaging your friends within the confines of the system (more page views, more lock in, more details they can scrape about you) and is the main reason why they don't want you exporting your contacts.
  • Am I the only one that doesn't see why this is such a huge deal? Facebook offers a convenient way to import a person's contact list into their site. They do not offer any convenient way to extract contact information out of their site. They have never offered a convenient way to export data from their site in their near 7 years of existence, and I've never heard big complaints about it. Solution: don't treat Facebook as your single source of a contact list. That's what other programs are for.

    I under

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