facebook protects us from having our data scraped – but that also stops us from MOVING our data
Now I can actually see why you’d NOT want automated scripts sucking up info about us off Facebook. I intend the information on my profile to be read by my human friends, not collected by computers and repurposed for unknown projects. Scoble seems to have been scraping information off his social network on Facebook for a fair reason, though: so that he can re-implement his social network on a different service. The information is, after all, his. Or rather, it belongs to him and his friends – and I’m one of his Facebook friends. So it sounds as though his script was saving information off my profile, too, for instance. I wouldn’t be OK with someone taking that information, much of which is only viewable to my friends, and reposting it on another website.
I don’t really know what Scoble was intending to do with the data. Probably his intents are entirely benign. He clearly sees this as an issue of data portability and of owning your own data.
It’s certainly very convenient for Facebook that protecting their users’ privacy fits simultaneously allows them to stop anybody from moving their data to another service.
Update Jan 4: Scoble’s been readmitted to Facebook.
Update Jan 8: Thomas Otter has posted a very interesting blog post describing how Scoble’s actions were in violation of European privacy laws.