Facebook chat is locking you in.

Like many I use Facebook Chat not because I like it but because I have no other choice. I know, “you can use X, it’s way better”. But all of the alternatives have one fatal flaw: People don’t use them*.

And this is exactly what Facebook wants.

So, now they have the user base … and they are determined not to lose it.

1. Facebook Chat API

For now, Facebook still provides the Jabber/XMPP gateway to it’s chat. Most (if not all) 3rd party apps use this system. But it’s getting shut down in April 2015.

Facebook Chat API will no longer be available when version 1.0 is deprecated.

So a reasonable man would think they are only upgrading to a better system. No such luck.

2. Graph API

My next though was to check the graph API and yes, I found the /user/inbox edge. It let’s you read messages but not publish them. Ok, it’s something.

Starting with the process to get this permission required for that API endpoint approved on my app I stumbled upon this.

Permission to read Facebook Chat Inbox exists, but you won't get it granted.

Well f**k.

So it seems that after April I’ll have only two options:

  1. Crappy web client
  2. Crappy and reportedly highly privacy invasive android app.

Vendor lock-in at its finest.

* It should be noted that this refers to all the people I wish to talk to aka. my social cirle, which may not be (and probably isn’t) representative of all.

7 thoughts on “Facebook chat is locking you in.

  1. It’s unfortunate about the jabber thing, honestly there is a few people that I really keep in contact with via fb chat… I enjoy geeking connection with other friends that are business oriented… unfortunately for me; fb chat is the most ideal messaging medium, period. As stubborn as my colleagues are, I’m going to have to face the music and attempt to switch them off fb chat. I know I won’t be able to easily get them too… It’s crazy to think that text messaging or calling them directly is so inconvenient. Seriously though? Fuck chat heads, that’s what got them hooked. :/

  2. As I recall, Google dumped XMPP/Jabber long ago for Google chat. I wouldn’t have expected anything less from Facebook! Every vendor wants a user base within a walled garden to profile them and profit from them.

    Also, the apostrophe in “Vendor lock-in at it’s finest.” must be removed. It should be “at its finest”. 🙂

  3. I have family and friends who use it, and because it is the most reliable way to quickly get in touch, I have to use the web client a lot. I hope there will eventually be a separate client for desktop after they drop Jabber support.

  4. You have a third option: Stop using facebook.

    There’s so many other ways to communicate with people, you don’t need fb

    • Some people. But in my line of work (volunteer coordination) there is only one other way: mobile phones. But that has it’s own drawbacks.

  5. I am horribly disappointed Facebook is dropping XMPP, with no sign of a usable protocol or API to replace it. Goodbye Facebook chat via Pidgin, or any other reasonable third-party application. As a Linux user, what are the chances Facebook would even bother “blessing” my desktop with an official Facebook app? Yeah right.

    The Google Talk XMPP drop didn’t impact me all that much since I never really used it much to begin with. I *did* use Facebook’s XMPP a lot.

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