Rehare this post if you really care about this disturbing problem with Facebook about…

Reshared post from +Mohamed Mansour

Rehare this post if you really care about this disturbing problem with Facebook about friend ownership. The first weeks of Google+ were insane for me. I got over 1000+ articles/blog posts/news sites talk about the export tool. Even till this day, I get all these emails, bug report, and direct messages (inbox overload) regarding my Facebook Friend Exporter Chrome extension. I will try and answer some of the questions I received through this post. Unfortunately as you already know, Facebook somehow made it almost impossible for anyone to get that data as of July 5th. The extension cannot extract email addresses anymore because that field no longer exists.

Facebook engineers worked really hard to hide (cloak) your friends email addresses completely. For example, in the past, they converted the textual email addresses to images which made it hard for the computer to read. That was perfect, because I could have ran my nifty JavaScript OCR script against those image over a HTML5 canvas. But it was slow so I decided to use the mobile version of Facebook which didn't captcha the email. That was great for many months. But they removed that, they completely removed all email fields from all devices from phones to mobile to desktop. A Facebook Engineering Manager even talked to me not once but twice regarding that issue. They even called me once on my cell too to get my input about why I think Facebook owns my data. They tried to say otherwise and blame Google for data violations. And he kept saying that they are protecting their users, which brings a frown on my face.

I have done many brainstorming hangout sessions on Google+ ways to learn how Facebook removes that email addresses. We all concluded that Facebook is really creating false positives. Even with normal user behavior, they remove those emails from your friends profile even if they explicitly said allowed it to be visible by sharing it with your friends. That is outright ridiculous if you tell me. We even tried long random fetch intervals which didn't make a difference. We mimicked user behavior, and that didn't work.

That becomes a problem. Lets say you want to grab 10 of your friends email account to register them for a charity event. A normal user would pick up their phone or visit the full website and browser to their friend, click on their info tab, and copy the email. That worked great in the past up until July 5th. If you do that now, Facebook will remove your friends email after the 5th try (sometimes more depending on the user). Let us be honest, how frequent do you visit that info page for your friend? Very rarely, so the normal user behavior rarely sees that page.

I enjoy Facebook, it is what helped me connect the emails I had to my friends at school, and previous jobs. It is that very email that made me come closer to my friends over the internet. Without those emails I supplied, Facebook would have been useless to me. I even recall that the reason why Facebook became popular is because of that special University email addresses you supplied which was a requirement when you signed on. That is why I am boycotting Facebook until they allow me to control my friends.

That is why I switched to Google+ as my main social network. I agree it is hard to make that switch, and I agree Google+ needs a lot of improvements, but at least the contact manager in Google is mine whereas in Facebook, they clearly own your friends. You should all invite your Facebook friends to Google+, if only Google allowed @hotmail.com and other domains to use that service, it would have made the transition easier to manage.

I can think of only one more way to get such information from Facebook "legally", but is it even for worth it for me to invest time. Facebook Exporter Extension had over 150+K installation ever since Google+ came out till July 5th.

Borrowing this image from http://hubspoint.com/2011/07/05/facebook-blocks-facebook-friend-exporter-google-chrome-extension/ since it was funny 🙂 I would rather see that image become "people vs facebook" instead.

You should all fight for what is rightfully yours. If everyone fights, then change will happen. You should all boycott Facebook and delete your accounts or at least place an image "Moved to G+" to show them who has power. You should continue to tell your friends at Facebook to come to Google+.

And to Google, thanks for this service, but please … make it open. Not everyone wants a Gmail account. Not everyone wants to create a new email address. Make it easy for users without a Gmail account to come here. Why should we fight while you guys play on the sideline? We (developers and users) are doing the best we can informing our friends and family about Google+. But with all honesty, you are making it really hard for our friends to come in that don't have a Gmail account.

Reshare everyone, even if it spams your friends G+ inbox of duplicated messages.

Google+: View post on Google+

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