Facebook Is Already Trying to Break Twitter's New Toy

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Twitter launched a new product called Vine on Thursday, one that's as confusing as it is intriuging -- just like Twitter itself was when it started. Unsurprisingly, Facebook wants nothing to do with it. It's a very simple story. Twitter's Vine, a new mobile app that's been described as "Instagram for video," created a small splash on launch day, won some downloads and piqued some interest. Like many apps these days, you can connect both your Twitter and your Facebook profile to the new service and find friends. It was only a few hours later that Facebook cut the cord.

It wasn't a huge deal on a practical level. On Thursday morning, you could connect your Vine profile to Facebook and use the link to connect with your Facebook friends. Classic social graph goodness! On Thursday evening, though, you could not do that, because Facebook cut off access. The social network not only cut off the friend-finding feature on Vine, it cut off all Facebook data. Long story short: if you want to connect with your friends on Vine, you'd better be following them on Twitter. 

This move from Facebook would seem like a glitch if it hadn't been happening across the board. As TechCrunch's Josh Constine points out, Facebook's been blocking a number of services from accessing its social graph. Facebook did the same thing to Twitter back in 2010 and stopped Google from accessing its contact lists a few months later. Twitter, for what its worth, cut off its own friend-finding feature from Instagram a year later. Do you feel geeky yet? You should.

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The fact of the matter is that all these social media companies -- namely, Facebook, Twitter and Google (sort of) -- used to cooperate with each other for the most part. That is no longer the case. Facebook is now defending its data, guarding its friend connections and staying far far away from anybody else's next big thing. Is that because it's scared of them? Who the heck knows. Does this mean that organizing your already very scattered Internet friends is only going to become more difficult. You betcha.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.