Don’t use our platform to copy what we do without permission.
That seems to be the core issue in a Platform Policy change that Facebook announced on its developer blog about an hour ago.
The change, according to Justin Osofsky, Facebook’s Director Platform Partnerships, means that the “vast majority” of developers should “keep doing what you’re doing.” But, in light of Facebook’s decision to cut API access to Vine and Voxer within the past week, Osofsky offered this clarification of Facebook’s policies:
For a much smaller number of apps that are using Facebook to either replicate our functionality or bootstrap their growth in a way that creates little value for people on Facebook, such as not providing users an easy way to share back to Facebook, we’ve had policies against this that we are further clarifying today (see I.10).
That I.10 link refers to a section of Facebook’s official policy for developers:
Reciprocity and Replicating core functionality: (a) Reciprocity: Facebook Platform enables developers to build personalized, social experiences via the Graph API and related APIs. If you use any Facebook APIs to build personalized or social experiences, you must also enable people to easily share their experiences back with people on Facebook. (b) Replicating core functionality: You may not use Facebook Platform to promote, or to export user data to, a product or service that replicates a core Facebook product or service without our permission.”
In the case of Twitter’s new Vine app, it meets section (a) above — users can share Vine videos back to Facebook and, as a Twitter spokesperson told us today, that’s not going to change.
That means Vine must’ve been — in Facebook’s eyes — violating section (b) by replicating a core Facebook feature (find a friend) without permission.
Or, equally as likely, it’s just a case of two companies that don’t like each other and probably never will.
The big losers here are the developers that are faced with building apps and services on moving targets — the companies’ API rules — along with the brands and users that own the data these two companies are fighting over.