Browser Plugin Gives Users End Run Around Facebook Social Sharing

Developer Joe Levy flew from his home in North Carolina to Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif., for a final round of job interviews a few months ago, but after releasing his Facebook Open Graph Redirect browser plugin for Google Chrome, he may be persona non grata at the social network.

Facebook Open Graph Redirect allows Facebook users to read content shared by applications that enable social sharing — including Yahoo, The Washington Post, MSNBC, SocialCam, The Guardian, and Viddy – without installing the apps themselves, meaning that users will not be prompted to share the content they are viewing.

Levy told TechCrunch:

I’m not sure Facebook could shut down the plugin. While it is probably against Facebook’s EULA (end-user license agreement) to install this plugin, I think Facebook could only ban users using the plugin (if they really wanted to), but not cause Google to remove an extension from the Chrome Web Store that simply grabs HTML and modifies it.

With a lot of users, it has a large potential to disrupt the social reader auto-posting features of Facebook’s new open graph, as people will no longer need to install these apps in order to view the content “hidden” behind their install buttons.

I do think these new open graph features and social readers are taking sharing a bit too far, especially considering all of the privacy concerns people already have with Facebook. If that has any correlation with how most Facebook users feel about Facebook’s social readers, then there is certainly a wide market for this extension, and certainly a number of things Facebook can improve upon in this area.

Readers: Are you comfortable with Facebook social sharing, or would you experiment with a browser plugin like Facebook Open Graph Redirect?

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