What I was using to hit Facebook — unreleased Plaxo Pulse

OK, so I’ve been released from my NDA. I was alpha testing an upcoming feature of Plaxo Pulse — this feature has not yet been released and now that my account has gotten shut down it’s not clear whether it will be released. It is a Facebook importer that works just like any other address book importer.

What does it collect?

Names and email address and birthday.

Why those? Because it’s trying to connect Facebook names with names in its database.

For instance, it learned that of the 5,000 people in my Facebook account about 1,800 were already on Plaxo.

It did NOT look at anything else. Just this stuff, no social graph data. No personal information.

Why do this?

I wanted to get all my contacts into my Microsoft Outlook address book and hook them up with the Plaxo system, which 1,800 of my friends are already on.

It’s ironic that you can import your Gmail address book into Facebook but you can’t export back out.

345 thoughts on “What I was using to hit Facebook — unreleased Plaxo Pulse

  1. Scoble, I was wondering if you know of any OCR script that will allow me to copy e-mail addresses from a network (i.e. my college) and copy them into A FB import file.

    jp

  2. Scoble, I was wondering if you know of any OCR script that will allow me to copy e-mail addresses from a network (i.e. my college) and copy them into A FB import file.

    jp

  3. If those people confirmed that you are a friend of them then you are allowed to get their information. If you had tried to pull not just friends but some others than it is something…

  4. If those people confirmed that you are a friend of them then you are allowed to get their information. If you had tried to pull not just friends but some others than it is something…

  5. Thanks Robert, your latest adventure alerted me to how vulnerable my email address was to being sucked into the evil spammy Plaxo.

    I have now restricted access to my email address until the privacy filters down to the new friends lists functionality.

    Keep up the good work but don’t waste all your time on Facebook;)

  6. Thanks Robert, your latest adventure alerted me to how vulnerable my email address was to being sucked into the evil spammy Plaxo.

    I have now restricted access to my email address until the privacy filters down to the new friends lists functionality.

    Keep up the good work but don’t waste all your time on Facebook;)

  7. Geez Scoob I must be a mind reader. I nailed it yesterday when I said your script was probably running through your account sucking down data.

    I’m off to Vegas now baby!

  8. Geez Scoob I must be a mind reader. I nailed it yesterday when I said your script was probably running through your account sucking down data.

    I’m off to Vegas now baby!

  9. I think you’re a great guy, Robert, but i have to voice my natural concerns here (and nrmally i am NOT paranoid about privacy etc!): I added you as a friend on facebook, and greatfully accepted(thanks!) but had NO idea that you would start using pre-release (beta? potentially buggy??) software to extract my data off Facebook… I feel a *tad* annoyed there…

    I happen to use Plaxo,trust them etc, but imagine this pre-release software is compromised and another party accesses it?

  10. I think you’re a great guy, Robert, but i have to voice my natural concerns here (and nrmally i am NOT paranoid about privacy etc!): I added you as a friend on facebook, and greatfully accepted(thanks!) but had NO idea that you would start using pre-release (beta? potentially buggy??) software to extract my data off Facebook… I feel a *tad* annoyed there…

    I happen to use Plaxo,trust them etc, but imagine this pre-release software is compromised and another party accesses it?

  11. If you the people you linked to on Facebook were really your friends you wouldn’t have thousands of them and you wouldn’t need software to collect the information. You’d be able to go through and to do it yourself or… Gasp, they’re your friends! You already know most of their birthdays and whether or not they’re on Plaxo!

  12. If you the people you linked to on Facebook were really your friends you wouldn’t have thousands of them and you wouldn’t need software to collect the information. You’d be able to go through and to do it yourself or… Gasp, they’re your friends! You already know most of their birthdays and whether or not they’re on Plaxo!

  13. But is it legal than Plaxo Pulse can extract and keep facebook profile and list of friend with name ?

    I don’t understand if it is legal or not ? can we keep somewhere a list of profiles ?
    With this http://developers.facebook.com/documentation.php?v=1.0&doc=misc
    , the Plaxo process is not legal, no ? yes ?

    Victor

    The discussion here :
    http://groups.google.fr/group/social-network-portability/browse_frm/thread/45185bca8138953d/c9a21d36e7759001?tvc=1#c9a21d36e7759001

  14. But is it legal than Plaxo Pulse can extract and keep facebook profile and list of friend with name ?

    I don’t understand if it is legal or not ? can we keep somewhere a list of profiles ?
    With this http://developers.facebook.com/documentation.php?v=1.0&doc=misc
    , the Plaxo process is not legal, no ? yes ?

    Victor

    The discussion here :
    http://groups.google.fr/group/social-network-portability/browse_frm/thread/45185bca8138953d/c9a21d36e7759001?tvc=1#c9a21d36e7759001

  15. I’m not a user or fan of Plaxo, as I’ve always been hit by lots of unnecessary update information by contacts of mine who do use it…

    But if the application collected name, email address and birthday, is that really valuable personal information you don’t want to give out? Then take it off your Facebook profile!

    It would take most people about 30 seconds to find my name and email address on countless websites, including my business, and my blog. And despite the fact I tend to keep my birthday private, I’m fairly sure that it would be available on some sites I’ve forgotten.

    If I’ve done that, then it’s publicly available and out there, whether it’s to five friends, or five thousand. It’s down to you to decide what information your friends might scrape, or copy and paste into Outlook, and what you might wish to remain private.

    After all, how do ya think Spam email works, for crying out loud?

    If you think this is scary, I take it you haven’t heard of Spokeo?
    http://thewayoftheweb.blogspot.com/2007/12/spokeo-scary-side-of-web-20.html
    Monitor all your friends, across lots of networks, without them knowing…

  16. I’m not a user or fan of Plaxo, as I’ve always been hit by lots of unnecessary update information by contacts of mine who do use it…

    But if the application collected name, email address and birthday, is that really valuable personal information you don’t want to give out? Then take it off your Facebook profile!

    It would take most people about 30 seconds to find my name and email address on countless websites, including my business, and my blog. And despite the fact I tend to keep my birthday private, I’m fairly sure that it would be available on some sites I’ve forgotten.

    If I’ve done that, then it’s publicly available and out there, whether it’s to five friends, or five thousand. It’s down to you to decide what information your friends might scrape, or copy and paste into Outlook, and what you might wish to remain private.

    After all, how do ya think Spam email works, for crying out loud?

    If you think this is scary, I take it you haven’t heard of Spokeo?
    http://thewayoftheweb.blogspot.com/2007/12/spokeo-scary-side-of-web-20.html
    Monitor all your friends, across lots of networks, without them knowing…

  17. Did you ask all of your 5,000 friends permission to take their data outside of Facebook to be used in your 3rd party application? (Outlook) As far as I’m aware, people need to opt-in to this sort of thing for data protection here in the UK. This simply appears to be a flagrant disregard for people that have naievly been accepted as a friend on Facebook, only to have their data used for your and Plaxos self promotion.

    Shame on you

  18. Did you ask all of your 5,000 friends permission to take their data outside of Facebook to be used in your 3rd party application? (Outlook) As far as I’m aware, people need to opt-in to this sort of thing for data protection here in the UK. This simply appears to be a flagrant disregard for people that have naievly been accepted as a friend on Facebook, only to have their data used for your and Plaxos self promotion.

    Shame on you

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  20. Well I was going to say that you have my info for Plaxo already because I comment here, but I realized that the e-mail address in my WP.com profile is not the one I have in use for Plaxo.

  21. Well I was going to say that you have my info for Plaxo already because I comment here, but I realized that the e-mail address in my WP.com profile is not the one I have in use for Plaxo.

  22. Who in the hell has 5,000 friends? Can it be anything but self-serving to gather that many “friends” on any network? If you agreed to be Robert’s friend without really knowing Robert and without really being his friend, then you are a stupid sheep and deserve to have Robert scrape your data and share it with his real friends, the people with whom he had an NDA. And if you were a real friend of Robert, you probably already knew he’d yank your information and give it to some other network and you wouldn’t have cared one whit. So all you whiners can just shut your pie hole. You deserved what you got. Now go suck up to some other “famous” blogger. It will make you feel important every time you see your name on his “friends” list with the 4,999 others there. And of course, in the interests of full disclosure, I’ve only written this post to get a link from Scoble’s site back to my horribly neglected blog. Thanks, Robert for giving me the backlink. -Tyler

  23. Who in the hell has 5,000 friends? Can it be anything but self-serving to gather that many “friends” on any network? If you agreed to be Robert’s friend without really knowing Robert and without really being his friend, then you are a stupid sheep and deserve to have Robert scrape your data and share it with his real friends, the people with whom he had an NDA. And if you were a real friend of Robert, you probably already knew he’d yank your information and give it to some other network and you wouldn’t have cared one whit. So all you whiners can just shut your pie hole. You deserved what you got. Now go suck up to some other “famous” blogger. It will make you feel important every time you see your name on his “friends” list with the 4,999 others there. And of course, in the interests of full disclosure, I’ve only written this post to get a link from Scoble’s site back to my horribly neglected blog. Thanks, Robert for giving me the backlink. -Tyler

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