Facebook and Ping – this is WHY we need an open social web.

Apple via Steve Jobs is saying that the terms of integration with Facebook were ‘onerous’ so it was dropped at the last moment.

We’re hearing reports of people who had access to a Facebook Connect feature in Ping earlier, which didn’t work, and has since been removed. So it looks like Apple really did pull Facebook support for Ping very late in the game. It’s still even mentioned on the Ping promo page. (And, via Peter Kafka, here’s a link to the Ping app on Facebook, which doesn’t currently seem to work.)

This is exactly why the social web needs to be fully open. Right now you don’t need to execute a terms of service to index the web, to publish HTML, to link to websites. But you DO need to agree to a terms of service to use Twitter, Facebook, etc.

If you want to use them at SCALE or have a serious application (like Apple) these companies want you to execute custom terms of service to prevent you from getting kicked off their platform at some point in the future.

You’re basically a share cropper. You are making money while working on someone else’s property. If they want to charge you EXCESSIVE rent you’re either forced to pay it or you have to go out of business.

Not fun.

This is why protocols like Salmon, PuSH, OAuth. and Status.net are so important.

Hopefully in a few years we look back at this situation and laugh at how silly it was – WAY back in 2010 when the social web was proprietary.


  1. So by calling it sharecropping are you alleging that a small number of wealthy educated people are taking advantage of a large number of poor uneducated people who have no other options? And then you are saying Steve Jobs is one of those people?

    Something seriously wrong with your argument when it positions Steve Jobs as the loser because a business is wanting to control it’s ecosystem. Let me introduce you to iPhone.

    But more broadly your post comes across as an attackbon private property. Why shouldn’t Facebook (and Apple) do whatever they want on their own property? It’s up to the forces of openness to offer a compelling alternative.

  2. Kevin,

    Thanks for the shout-out! We think it’s pretty important, too.

  3. Hey Ted. I think you’re missing the point.

    I’m not saying that Steve Jobs is one of the poor people with no other option.

    I’m saying Steve Jobs is the land owner.

    I’m saying that iPhone developers have no other alternative but to yield to their rules because they control the land.

    The other alternatives are to make less money (arguably) or to use a different platform and ignore the iPhone altogether which for some might not be acceptable.

    I’m not attacking the concept of private property. I’m just acknowledging the fact that you’re essentially ‘leasing’ someone else’s private property and you have no other alternative but to stay put.

    Facebook and Apple COULD make their privacy policies as onerous as they like. It’s certainly their right.

    It’s also within the right of developers to NOT code for this platform.

    > It’s up to the forces of openness to offer a compelling alternative.

    Yes….. that’s why I gave a shout out to the open alternatives and we need to do better.

    Open alternatives have won in the past. You’re using one now. The web. We don’t use AOL or Prodigy any more because they were proprietary, closed, and they lost.

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