Mar 312010
 March 31, 2010  Posted by  Online

As a follow-up to a report that Pete Warden was harvesting social network data discussed here,  Jim Giles reports:

Legal threats from Facebook have led to the destruction of a social science dataset about to be released to researchers.

Lawyers from the social networking site contacted Pete Warden, an entrepreneur based in Boulder, Colorado, in February after he announced plans to release data he had collected from the public profiles of 210 million Facebook users.


Facebook may have lucked out that Warden does not have the resources to fight them, as Giles points out other instances where researchers have used crawler software to capture Facebook data. Facebook’s robots.txt file does not prevent such crawling.

Has the FTC ever looked at the issue of whether failure to at least try to block such crawling constitutes “reasonable security?” I don’t know.

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