Facebook Blocks Contact Export Tool, Surprises No One

While some may write off Google+ as doomed to fail, Facebook is apparently feeling pretty apprehensive about Google’s startup social network. Chrome application developer Mohamed Mansour created an excellent app to export your Facebook data to more easily import it into Google+’s system, allowing you to fairly easily bring in your contacts’ e-mail addresses, birthdays, and phone numbers, among other data. Facebook quickly responded by finding a way to stop the app from working.

“Facebook is trying so hard to not allow you to export your friends. They started to remove e-mails of your friends from your profile by today July 5th 2011. It will no longer work for many people,” says Mansour, who is trying to come up with a workaround to Facebook’s block.

It’s here that we see a huge difference in ideologies between Google and the big blue social monolith. While Google believes in openness and being able to readily access information that’s yours, Facebook takes the approach that any information or media that’s put in their system is theirs, and they are free to limit that information at will. When you try to export information about your contacts via Facebook’s own tool, you’re given a simple list of names with no information.

Regardless of the success of Mansour’s application, one thing is clear: Google’s battle is not just against a competing social application; it’s a battle of open vs. closed, of the freedom to use information that’s available vs. only being able to use it on someone else’s terms. Of course, this isn’t the first time that Google has championed its open system against a closed system, is it?

[via cnet]


About the Author: Mitch Wright

Witnesses at Mitch Wright’s birth claim that he came out as a mechanical cyborg beast, who then decimated the doctors in the room with a violent laser blast. Naturally, these witnesses are insane. Mitch was born in Texas, grew up in central New Jersey, and then moved back to Texas, where he met his spectacularly awesome wife. He currently works as a repair tech for Major National Carrier, where he is able to fulfill his love for gadgets by taking phones and PDAs apart and (hopefully) fixing them. He has a strong passion for technology, reading, writing, and science fiction, and loves the fact that modern technology is getting ever closer to the latter. In the world of PDAs, Mitch started off in the land of Windows Mobile with the HTC Touch and HTC Diamond, migrated to webOS with the Palm Pre, and has since been infatuated with Android, first with the Samsung Moment and now with the HTC Evo.


  • Rod

    The best way is to use yahoo to import from Facebook. Then export to file then import to Google. Worked for me.

  • pablorenato

    you should note google’s not much better
    Google & Facebook are like the 2 extremes
    Facebook won’t give you the information thats yours
    Google+ won’t let you keep your profile private or they’ll delete you

    socialism meets capitalism

  • http://webguru-co.com/ Mergen, Webguru LLC

    Both companies do some cheesy stuff. Facebook has its privacy issues. Google has its anti-trust and other fights.

    In any case, I’m not a fan of Facebook regarding how they treat personal data… they don’t realize what people may view as private; they don’t respect people’s privacy; they don’t really and fully delete an account and all its related information even when you have requested an account to be deleted; and they think that they own personal information and not the individuals who wrote them in.

    I am not a huge fan of Facebook in regarding privacy and private data.

  • amicablealligator

    “Google+ won’t let you keep your profile private or they’ll delete you”

    Pablorenato is a liar. Google+ will not delete your profile. 2 extremes? maybe. socialism vs capitalism? hardly.

  • VXbinaca

    pablorenato is a paid commenter.

  • http://twitter.com/PepperdineH Heather Pepperdine

    Importing into Yahoo worked for me. However, it only imports email addresses. No birthdays, etc.