Facebook has clarified its platform policies in response to the news that it has shut off friend-finding access to Twitter's new video sharing app, Vine.
Within hours of Vine's launch, the ability for users to find Facebook friends also using Vine disappeared. The move was not unlike a decision Twitter made in July to prevent Instagram users from continuing to find contacts using Twitter.
In a post on its Developer Blog, Facebook clarifies some of its platform policies. While not mentioning Vine by name, it's clear this is the app the company is referring to when it writes:
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).
This is the text from section I.10 (emphasis ours):
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 other words, if developers want to access data from the Graph API to build a personalized Facebook experience within the app, those developers must make it easy for users to share information within the app back to Facebook.
Moreover, developers will need Facebook's permission to promote or export user data to a service that "replicates a core Facebook product or service."
In the case of Vine, while the service allows sharing back to Facebook or Twitter, the sharing functionality or secondary social network appears to meet Facebook's definition of "replicating a core Facebook product or service."
While it's possible Vine could ask permission from Facebook to have access to the Graph API, given the ongoing social war between Facebook and Twitter, that solution seems unlikely.