Facebook Sends Cease And Desist To Friend-Seller

    November 20, 2009

uSocial is a controversial advertising company that specializes in social media.  For a fee, it promises to get stories on the front page of Digg, direct followers to a Twitter account, and/or find someone Facebook fans (among other things).  But Facebook’s put at least a temporary stop to the sale of friends.

The BBC reported this afternoon, "Facebook sent Cease and Desist letters to USocial claiming that the way the marketing firm operates violates its rights by sending spam, using web tools to harvest pages, getting login names and by accessing accounts that did not belong to the marketing firm."

As a result, "USocial defended itself against Facebook’s claims, saying that it did not spam users or use web tools to gather information about profiles. . . .  However, in response to the legal letters, USocial said it would delete the login information it had collected and broadly stop offering to sell Facebook friends."

This is an interesting development insofar as, three months ago, Twitter also tried to crack down on uSocial.  Its back-channel methods apparently didn’t succeed, but now that Facebook’s established a precedent, we might see another attempt.  Delicious, Digg, and Reddit could well join the fight, too.

Of course, the hubbub around such a scuffle would act as free advertising for uSocial and might spread the notion that these social media sites can be gamed, so it’s also possible that absolutely nothing will occur.

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