Facebook, Facebook Image-to-Email, Facebook Scavenger

In which I avoid being sued

Banned by Facebook At the request of (and under the threats of legal action from) Facebook, I’ve taken down the Facebook Image-to-Email and Facebook Scavenger Firefox extensions. Facebook claims that any method of automating against their site is a TOS violation, although if that were true, simply using a Web browser to convert their raw HTML code into readable text and images would constitute a violation.

I maintain that both tools provided a useful service that Facebook has neglected to provide itself, but I will not continue to make them available via this website. Facebook has also confirmed to me via e-mail that it will not offer users the option of having their e-mail address displayed in plain clickable text, under the guise of protecting the users’ privacy. (E-mail addresses are already visible as images, but you can’t click on them to send the user a message. This has the serendipitious side-effect of making Facebook’s own in-site messaging system a much more attractive method of communication for Facebook users.)

A couple of things to note: while I obviously cannot retrieve any copies of these extensions that have already been downloaded, Facebook feels quite strongly that the usage of Image-to-Email and Scavenger violates their Terms of Service. They cannot stop you from using it, but they can (in theory) test for the presence of either extension and ban you from their site if you have them installed. Contact me privately via e-mail if you’re concerned about your usage being detected in this manner.


4 comments on “In which I avoid being sued

  1. What a pity :-(
    I was precisely looking for this type of extension (or about to program my own).
    It looks like Facebook is really pushing the locking of personal data to a new level!

    I look forward to see how successful http://dataportability.org/ will be, and if it finally allows a backup of one’s own data.

    In any case, it would be great to start thinking about decentralised social networks that will give people an open alternative to giant black holes such as the current Facebook.

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