As Facebook Shows Its Fear, Open-Xchange Bounces Back

The arrival of the Google+ social network has caused a battle to erupt over ownership of Facebook users' contact information, and on Wednesday open source provider Open-Xchange fought back against Facebook's earlier deactivation of its OX.IO export tool.

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“We simply added a new API key to the export tool,” wrote Open-Xchange CEO Rafael Laguna in a Wednesday post on the company's blog. “Facebook could continue with their 'smart' strategy and deactivate the new API key again. Do we think they will? I doubt that Facebook wants to continue their slow public suicide.”

The tool is available on Open-Xchange's OX.IO site; instructions for using it are provided in an earlier blog post from last week.

A Million Users Per Day

The OX.IO tool is an extension to the Social OX feature on Open-Xchange's namesake open source platform that uses the official APIs from various social and business networks--including Facebook--to create an exportable address book that can then be used however the user pleases.

Importing that data into Google+ is one example.

Prior to deactivating Open-Xchange's OX.IO tool, Facebook did the same thing to the Facebook Friend Exporter Chrome extension as well. Though neither tool was designed exclusively for Google+, the growing popularity of the new social network evidently caused Facebook to sit up and take notice of what has surely been a spike in activity.

Indeed, it looks like Google+ has been gaining roughly a million users per day since its launch, putting it well on track to hit 20 million users by week's end.

No wonder Facebook is sweating.

Overriding Users

This is a high-stakes battle, and users need to pay close attention.

I've never been a fan of privacy-challenged Facebook, but what's especially breathtaking about these latest actions are that it won't let anything tap a user's friend list, even if the user has given permission to do so.

It's trying to claim ownership of users' contacts, in other words.

Facebook has gotten a lot of flak over the years for its privacy violations, and rightfully so. But for all those who needed a clear signal of its intentions, this is it.

Facebook isn't interested in your best interests; it's interested in owning and controlling your information. Looks like it's about time to jump on the open source lifeboat and get the heck out of there.

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