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Facebook hates the open web

January 19th, 2012

Rob Fahrni

AHHHHHH!Yep, that’s right, Facebook hates the open web. A few weeks back I deleted my Facebook account and I haven’t missed it. On occasion I do visit Facebook because so many people and companies use it you can’t ignore it. Recently I wanted to do something with an RSS feed through ifttt and using the pages URL didn’t resolve to its’ RSS feed. Now, the same URL worked in my feed reader, but ifttt didn’t like it. I thought I’d found a bug so I contacted ifttt and they informed me the URL I was providing wasn’t the path to the RSS feed. Here’s a bit from the support email.

The URL you shared https://www.facebook.com/pages/Eureka-Burger-SLO/234741763243928 is not a Feed URL at all. Instead, look to the left column of that page and you will see a button for: “GET UPDATES VIA RSS”

Notice the bold text. I thought maybe I was blind, I couldn’t find a link that mentioned anything about RSS. Why? It’s not actually on the page, unless you have a Facebook account and are logged in. I was able to confirm this with my wife. She was able to see the link, along with a few others that don’t show up.

Here’s what I saw when I visited the page.

Facebook is a walled garden. In the end, it’s bad for an open web.

UPDATE: A big thanks to Prasenjeet Dutta for pointing me to this piece by Anil Dash called FACEBOOK IS GASLIGHTING THE WEB. WE CAN FIX IT.

3 Comments

  1. January 19, 2012

    Yes, they announced this a few months ago. Very irritating. See this post — it lists some of their other dodgy practices: http://dashes.com/anil/2011/11/facebook-is-gaslighting-the-web.html

  2. January 19, 2012

    On the other hand – I started a podcast devoted to the Skyrim game recently. There is simply no way we could have built up the listener community without Facebook. Telling me to use forum software is not an answer; no one wants to register for the umpteenth website.

  3. January 19, 2012

    James,

    I totally get that. As I was creating the post I realized how easy it is for non-techies to have a presence on the web. It’s a no brainer.

    It’s a great distribution mechanism.

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