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Facebook: Google Friend Connect Violates ToS

Google, earlier this week, released a preview Friend Connect, a system that will allow web site owners to easily add social applications to their sites with out much coding. These “social gadgets” include ways to access users on social networks like Facebook and MySpace. However, Facebook has been quick to suspend participation due to the lack of control over user information being redistributed without Facebook users’ knowledge.

A Facebook employee, Charlie Cheever, brings light to why Facebook is suspending its participation in the Facebook Developer blog. “We’ve had a chance to evaluate the technology. We’ve found that it redistributes user information from Facebook to other developers without users’ knowledge, which doesn’t respect the privacy standards our users have come to expect and is a violation of our Terms of Service,” Cheever said. “Just as we’ve been forced to do for other applications that redistribute data in a way users might not expect or understand, we’ve had to suspend Friend Connect’s access to Facebook user information until it comes into compliance.”

Facebook claims the company was never officially participating with Google’s new venture, and the company was only merely briefed on the new technology. Facebook has already reached out to Google in hopes of solving the issues.

Google Friend Connect provides a set of social gadgets for users to implement one his or her’s website. One may sign-in into Google, Yahoo, AIM or OpenID accounts, invite and show activity to friends, browse profiles and the ability to connect to new friends all across social networks. The current social networks listed by Google include Facebook, Google Talk, hi5, orkut, and Plaxo.

Earlier this month Facebook ran into user privacy issues as it accidentally published a hand full of scanned copies of driver’s licenses.