Facebook could find itself embroiled in a data protection row after buying a Malaysian firm that specialises in importing contacts.
Startup Octazen Solutions, which imports contacts from various sites like Gmail into Facebook, has been criticised over its data scrapping methods, which sometimes violate other sites’ terms of service. Facbook acquired the company a fortnight ago, and is already thought to use it to scrape contacts from other sites, which Facebook then uses to ‘suggest’ friends to its users.
Anonymous sources say Octazen is the most talented content scrapper around, TechCrunch reports, and is capable of avoiding the most sophisticated detection systems.
The company can collect address books and social graphs from sites directly from other sites. The problem is its unclear what it does with the data collected. .
But Facebook said it acquired the company because of its expertise providing contact migration services for email accounts other than Hotmail, Yahoo, AOL or Gmail. Users not on one of these services constitute more than 30% of Facebook's subscriber-base.