Plaxo’s Mistake Costs Scoble His Facebook Account

There’s a storm a brewin’ in the Bay Area today, and it’s not just those rain clouds coming their way! For those following the Twitter Storm, and Scoble’s blog, Scoble was banned from Facebook today due to some testing he was doing with an unreleased version of Plaxo Pulse. While Scoble is understandably upset, I think he is unfairly putting the blame on Facebook.

In the book, we quote a point in the Terms of Service which says that you “[can’t] use automated scripts to collect information from or otherwise interact with the Service or the Site;” It would appear that Scoble might be better off blaming those at Plaxo that he trusted to have read that before giving him a script that explicitely violates the agreement. I think Scoble’s blame of Facebook is somewhat unfair. I hope Plaxo has apologized profusely to Scoble!

Here’s what I think Facebook should do in the future, now that another publicity nightmare is ensuing:

  1. Of course, they should reinstate Scoble’s account – maybe a slap on the hand with an explanation for the rule if you still can’t allow that practice, but Scoble’s account should have never been disabled in the first place!
  2. Whitelist Scoble, and any other A-list blogger from all your disable scripts! – Do this now! Scoble is not the first, and I guarantee won’t be the last if you keep doing this!
  3. Work with Plaxo on an acceptable solution to the problem Scoble is trying to address – this could be an excellent opportunity to calm the waters, work with the two parties, and solve an issue of one of your biggest users and supporters
  4. Disable the 5,000 limit for all those whitelisted above – Twitter has exceptions to their API and request limits, why can’t Facebook? All those generating serious traffic to Facebook should be treated as royalty IMO. Scoble deserves much better treatment.

What I think will come of all of this is I think something will finally be done to address some of the biggest issues facing Facebook today. I think finally some sort of Export method will be allowed for contacts (with privacy limits, I’m sure!). I also think the 5,000 friend limit will finally be lifted for Scoble, and the traffic on his site will more than double over today and as the situation unfolds.

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