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Facebook clarifies its platform policies in wake of Vine controversy

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On its developer blog, Facebook's Justin Osofsky responded, although very indirectly, to removing access to new video app Vine's friend-friending ability yesterday just hours after the app launched. Osofsky wrote:

"...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."

What's strange is that Vine does provide a way to share back to Facebook using a big button just as visible as the "Share to Twitter" button. Evidently, sharing back isn't always enough. Vine doesn't, after all, send the video clips you make to Facebook — it only sends a link to your video, effectively moving your engagement offsite. Facebook's objection is in that regard understandable, though when combined with several other similar clashes lately with app developers like Voxer and Yandex's Wonder, Facebook sounds like a bully. Especially so since Twitter, which owns Vine, is one of Facebook's key rivals.

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"Our goal is to provide a platform that gives people an easy way to login to your apps, create personalized and social experiences, and easily share what they're doing in your apps with people on Facebook," Osofsky wrote. It seems like the key phrase is "share what you're doing" — which apparently Vine isn't doing well enough. But there's another point to be made. "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," the company's new policy reads, which seems to say that apps will no longer be able to "export" friend data to other services remotely similar to Facebook.

It seems like the key phrase is "share what you're doing" — which apparently Vine isn't doing well enough

Facebook recently launched the ability to send voice messages through Messenger, which is like Voxer, and also launched Graph Search, a way to search for data, which is like Yandex's Wonder app. Either Facebook is getting ready to debut its own mobile short-form video app, or it's bending its own rules about the meaning of "apps that replicate a core Facebook product."

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