Twitter, Vine, Voxer, MessageMe. Facebook has repeatedly cut off competitors from its feature for finding your Facebook friends on their apps…after jumpstarting its own social graph by convincing people to upload their Gmail contacts. Meanwhile, Facebook’s Download Your Information tool merely exports a text list of friends’ names you can’t use elsewhere. As congress considers potential regulation following Mark Zuckerberg’s testimonies, it should prioritize leveling the playing field for aspiring alternatives to Facebook and letting consumers choose where to social network. And as a show of good faith and argument against it abusing its monopoly, Facebook should make our friend list truly portable. It’s time to free the social graph — to treat it as a fundamental digital possession, the way the Telecomunnications Act Of 1996 protects your right to bring your phone number with you to a new network. The two most powerful ways to do this would be for Facebook to stop, or congress to stop it from, blocking friend finding on competitors like it’s done in the past to Twitter and more. And Facebook should change its Download Your Information tool to export our friend list in a truly interoperable format. When you friend someone on Facebook, they’re not just a name. They’re someone specific amongst often many with the same name, and Facebook should be open to us getting connected with them elsewhere. Facebook Takes Data It Won’t Give While it continues til this day, back in 2010 Facebook goaded users to import their Gmail address books so they could add them as Facebook friends. But it refused to let users export the email addresses of their friends to use elsewhere. That led Google to change its policy and require data portability reciprocity from any app using its Contacts API. So did Facebook back off? No. It built a workaround, giving users a deep link to download their Gmail contacts from Google’s honorable export tool. Facebook then painstakingly explained to users how to upload that file so it could suggest they friend all those contacts. Google didn’t want to stop users from legitimately exporting their contacts, so it just put up a strongly worded warning to Gmail users: “Trap my contacts now: 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? . . . Although we strongly disagree with this data…

Source: TechCrunch – Social Facebook shouldn’t block you from finding friends on competitors