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Facebook is already pretty open. Its developer platform enables developers to build applications that leverage Facebook users' 'social graphs' and its Connect API gives developers the means to 'connect' their websites with Facebook.

But, perhaps in an effort to compete with the service Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg can't have (Twitter), the social network is set to become even more open.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Facebook will announce today that developers are going to have even greater access to the wealth of user data that Facebook collects. This "means developers can build services that access the photos, videos, notes and comments users upload to Facebook".

By giving developers access to key parts of the Facebook service, namely photos, of which there are billions, it would clearly be hoping to attract even more developer interest than it has already seen. With more than 200m users, Facebook is already an appealing target for developers in search of a platform on which to build. But by giving developers access to the most coveted parts of the 'social graph', the possibilities will be a lot more intriguing than, say, throwing sheep.

There is a caveat, however: as with existing applications, Facebook users will have to give applications permission before they can access the treasure trove of newly-available user data. This is a good thing, no doubt, for maintaining user privacy but the question is whether enough users will be willing to open up more of their data to applications, and whether they'll be willing to do so with applications that go beyond the 'novelty' category.

Photo credit: jimwhimpey via Flickr.

Patricio Robles

Published 27 April, 2009 by Patricio Robles

Patricio Robles is a tech reporter at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter.

2393 more posts from this author

Comments (2)

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Chris Nee

I can't help but feel that Facebook is fighting a losing battle against Twitter and would be better off focusing on its own strengths. Facebook is big enough and strong enough to continue to dominate the social networking market. It should leave Twitter's functionality to Twitter - it's missed the boat and seems to be picking the wrong strategies for copying the microblogging service.

Asking people to open up their Facebook photos and constantly mucking about with their news feeds is an entirely different approach to the simple openness of Twitter.

Facebook is too big to do everything better than everyone else. Attracting applications which can be denied access is not the solution.

over 7 years ago

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Rob Burkins

I'm curious to see what sort of data these developers can collect/exploit. Seemingly most facebook comments are inside jokes, snarky commentary, or other jibberish that is difficut to make sense of. very few key words etc.

while i share a fair deal of information on my profile, im not sure anyone would gain insight other than that im a mid 20's guy living in new york city...something that any marketer worth his salt would have known before.

while facebook is a part of everyday life to a certain demographic, its still not a place where conversation happens.

over 7 years ago

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