Yesterday it was mentioned in an interview with Facebook iPhone developer, Joe Hewitt, on Dave Winer and Marshall Kirkpatrick’s podcast, “Bad Hair Day”, that Facebook did not have the ability to retrieve your friends’ status updates via RSS. I was taken by this, as this was something I wrote about back in January, and it was indeed possible, with a special key only known to the profile owner, to get an RSS feed of your Facebook Friends’ status updates. So I tweeted out the link last night thinking it would be useful.
I tested out the link today, and it turns out that Facebook some time in the last several months seems to have removed the Friends’ RSS updates feature. Joe Hewitt, who works for Facebook, seemed to be surprised by it yesterday as well, as he too had seemed to think it was possible until looking for it.
My hope is that this was just overlooked and Facebook in the near future will release the Friends’ status RSS feed again. Facebook has made many changes to their News Feed and Wall lately, and my assumption is that it just got overlooked at some point. Having that available via RSS, and a user-controlled level should be no problem so long as it is only displaying status updates marked with the privacy control “everyone”. Maybe that was the problem and they’re fixing it.
So for now it would seem you’ll have to get down and dirty with the API to have any sort of access to a person’s friends status updates. That’s okay in my book, but having a little more standards-controlled ways of retrieving this information would also be useful on a different level. Help me David Recordon, you’re my only hope!
UPDATE: It looks like if you previously had subscribed to your friends via RSS the link is still working. It seems that just the link has been removed – does anyone know how to find it now?