Browser Add-ons, Facebook, Facebook Scavenger, Mozilla Firefox, Robert Scoble

Take your Facebook data with you

Earlier today, I mentioned that it wouldn’t be out of the question to write a Firefox extension that would grab profile data about your Facebook friends as you view their profiles so that you could take that data to another service.

Given that, allow me to introduce Facebook Scavenger. It’s a Firefox extension that saves data (including e-mail addresses) from Facebook profiles that you view and then allows you to export that data in CSV format.

Robert Scoble Note that this extension does not violate Facebook’s TOS since it does not automatically load pages to retrieve profile data; rather, it reformats data that you have already seen on pages that you yourself loaded. Robert Scoble could have saved himself a lot of trouble (and avoided a lot of that nasty publicity that I’m sure he hates ;-) had he just used this extension for a few days.

Face, Facebook, Facebook Image-to-Email, Robert Scoble

Proposal for (legally) acquiring data from Facebook

There’s a big debate going on today about Robert Scoble getting booted from Facebook for harvesting data about his friends with a bot. The relevant portion of the Facebook TOS that he violated is this:

“You agree not to: […] use automated scripts to collect information from or otherwise interact with the Service or the Site;”

But according to the same TOS,

“you are granted a limited license to access and use the Site and the Site Content and to download or print a copy of any portion of the Site Content to which you have properly gained access solely for your personal, non-commercial use, provided that you keep all copyright or other proprietary notices intact.”

So you can download/print the data on the site for personal use, but you can’t write a bot to go out and get it. Fair enough, but what if someone were to write, oh, I don’t know, a Firefox extension that sits quietly in the background while you browse Facebook, and as you manually view your friends’ pages, it takes the data from the browser’s cache, grabs the info you want (like, oh, I don’t know, their e-mail addresses), and allows you to export that in a common format, like CSV. That wouldn’t break the Facebook TOS, since there is no automatic collection of information from Facebook’s servers (just the browser cache), but you could still have the info you want in an easy to read (and easy to import) format. It might not be a reasonable solution for people with 5,000 friends, but for us regular Joes, we could easily spend half an hour and have all the data we need from Facebook.

Anyway, it’s just a thought; it’s not like I’m planning on doing this or anything. Since when am I the kind of person to irk a large social networking site by making their data easily available?

PodTech, Robert Scoble, Techcrunch

Techcrunch’s credible sources

So Techcrunch used Fake Steve Jobs as their primary source for saying that PodTech is going out of business; do they realize how irresponsible that is? Robert Scoble does.

Duncan Riley’s justification:

“We didn’t run it first or second or even third, I sat on it for a couple of hours. Problem was (and is) if we didn’t run it and it turned out to be true later we would have missed covering it.” #

Anything to get the scoop, I guess…

Dave Winer, Geekfight, Jason Calacanis, Robert Scoble, Techmeme

Dave Winer falls for it

Dave Winer writes that Techmeme is “officially” a cesspool, now that bloggers will write linkbait just to get on the Techmeme leaderboard. (Little-known fact: all search engines are also cesspools by the same reasoning.) Specifically, he singles out Jason Calacanis and Robert Scoble for writing attention-getting linkbait pieces (much like he himself is doing):

“I’m thinking of this idiotic post by an idiot [Jason] who’s known for saying idiotic things just to get attention.” #

“Scoble […] is rapidly rising. How’s he doing it? By saying extreme things that people will react to. Scoble ain’t no idiot. If he wants to rise on the list, he rises.” #

So Jason’s an idiot, Scoble “ain’t no idiot,” and the verdict on Dave Winer, who fell for both bloggers’ linkbait, is still out.

P.S. Dave – what’s up with the tinyurl links? If you need more disk space on your server to handle all of the extra bytes needed by full-length URLs, I’ll take up a collection to buy you some more storage.