When Did Facebook Remove RSS for Friends’ Status Updates?

RSSYesterday 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?



15 thoughts on “When Did Facebook Remove RSS for Friends’ Status Updates?

  1. The old link still works, but it's missing from Facebook entirely. I have my old link, and know it's there and working (just tested it).

    During the last major overhaul of FB's appearance, the link to get your status updates feed disappeared and was never added back. Dunno why. I expect it was an oversight.

    For reference, the link looks like this:

    This is a bit insecure, actually. Note the id and viewer fields are supposed to protect privacy, however somebody who obtained the link could easily change the viewer to the same as the ID and bypass that. Thus the secret key thing, without which it cannot be retrieved at all.

    Annoyingly, the key is not the same between the my links and notes and status updates feed links.


  2. The notifications link does not include friends status updates.

    Jesse, few days back when you asked “What would you like Facebook to implement?”, I'd mentioned RSS feed for my status updates. Getting your own status via RSS is now impossible (some have cited privacy concerns), so I don't imagine how friends' status updates would be available.

    There was a brief time it was possible to get friends' status updates via RSS but not your own (sometime around Apr-May this year). Many people started using it as a workaround to get their own status update feed. (I also joined the bandwagon, logging through my wife's account to try to get to my feed – but it didn't work).

    Even FB developers are not happy: http://forum.developers.facebook.com/viewtopic….


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