For all the reasons that Facebook is a massive success, it has one card that trumps the likes of Twitter, Google and LinkedIn: it knows who your real-life friends are. Kindly, Facebook shares that data with third-party apps using its Social Graph API — but it seems that privilege might not be a given for much longer.
TechCrunch reported last week that Facebook is cutting off access to the API for "competing" apps that don't share much back with the Big Blue. It started with Voxer — don't worry, nobody else has heard of it — but was, the 'Crunch claimed, planning to extend the policy further.
Now, The Verge is reporting that Facebook seems to be refusing to authorise user requests to find friends on Vine. Doing so seems to throw up a message "Vine is not authorised to make this Facebook request", which suggests that the app doesn't have access to the Social Graph API.
If that's the case, it's obviously a massive bummer for Vine, which has been having problems straight outta the gate. And it does seem it could be the case: despite the fact that Vine is geared up for sharing with Facebook, it's run by Twitter which is — as we all know — a big Facebook competitor.
So, while we can't be certain that Facebook is locking down Social Graph, scraps of evidence are starting to point towards it. If it is the case, it will be interesting to see how Zuckerberg pushes forward with the policy: too much clamping down would leave Facebook as a walled garden; too little might give its competitors an edge it would rather not offer up. The ball is in Facebook's court. [TechCrunch and The Verge]