Google calls Facebook contacts loophole a ‘trap,’ fight continues

ackbar-its-a-facebook-trapThe drama between Facebook and Google is getting downright childish. Now Google has changed its Gmail export contacts screen to a warning to users about the trap that they are about to enter by importing data into Facebook. Confused? Let us catch you up.

Google has always allowed other websites with sign-ups to ask users who register if they’d like to import their Google Gmail contacts. In the case of Facebook, users could use Google contacts to instantly find friends when they created a profile for the social network. Due to increased tension between Google and Facebook, this has changed.

Recent happenings:

Today: Google changes Gmail contacts export page

In a very direct response to Facebook’s loophole exploit, Google has changed the contact export page for users accessing it from Facebook’s workaround.

google-trap-my-contacts-now

It now says the following: “Hold on a second. Are you super sure you want to import your contact information for your friends into a service that won’t let you get it out? Here’s the not-so-fine print. You have been directed to this page from a site that doesn’t allow you to re-export your data to other services, essentially locking up your contact data about your friends. So once you import your data there, you won’t be able to get it out. We think this is an important thing for you to know before you import your data there. Although we strongly disagree with this data protectionism, the choice is yours. Because, after all, you should have control over your data.”

Then the message asks users if they’d like to continue to export their contacts or instead lodge an anonymous complaint with Facebook.

Who’s right? Who’s wrong? Google is supposed to “do no evil,” but how is it doing good by attacking Facebook like this? Much like democracy, perhaps Internet freedom is best learned over time. Is it right to force freedom on the rest of the web? After all, no one has to sign up for Facebook.

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