Scoble, Facebook and scripting oh my…

Scoble, Facebook and scripting oh my…

Well, I’ve been following Scoble’s tweets today and it would appear his Facebook account was shut down (disabled). facereviews makes the point that this is a good thing in the sense that we do want FB to monitor it’s pages for scraping.

One of the many posters in this hale of twittiblogging (I think it was Ian Betteridge but I’ve lost the link) gives the following example: just because you post your email on your blog doesn’t mean you’d allow others using it or adding it to their address book or doing something commercial with it (I’m paraphrasing from memory).

I have to say I disagree with this, if information is to be shared publicly then all uses of the public domain should be equally allowed or restricted. If I post my email on my blog (or indeed my phone number) it is primarily intended for those that have a genuine need for it. Nonetheless I also accept that I will have to shoulder the burden of added spam, lack of privacy, identity theft or whatever else might come of its existing in the public domain. In other words, I accept both good and evil uses of my publicly posted data.

In Scoble’s example, while he is legitimately trying to recover his social data, as a side effect of this scrapping he will also grab data from those he has shared with. This data is in the public domain and its posting forms the expectation of a social contract. That is, those that post information to Facebook (myself included) are building a sort of social creative commons and we need to accept that sharing this data effectively means placing it in the public domain.

Like most things, this contract only works if the benefits of having the data flow both in and out of the social utility.