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Facebook tries to ban an alternative to its official app for reasons that could make numerous apps illegal, according to EFF



Friendly Social Browser is a mobile app that centralizes access to our accounts on various social networks, adding functions that are missed in official apps. In the case of Facebook, it allows us to access it just as we did years ago: with low data consumption and low battery, with publications in chronological order and also integrating messaging (that is, the 'emancipated' Facebook Messenger).



Add to that various extra features such as multi-account support, ad blocking and tracking, post filter using keywords, simplified download of multimedia files or customization of the interface (font size, color scheme) ... and we will understand. why some users are unrelenting fans of Friendly.





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A lawsuit that could apply to thousands of browser extensions



Where this app does not seem to have so many fans is within Facebook itself, which has launched his lawyers to find a way to expel it from the app stores for alleged violation of the US CFAA (that is, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act), by "changing the way Facebook and Instagram work and look."



Friendly, which has already been available to users for a decade, does not use any API to allow the user to access their account: for technical purposes, it is just another browser, such as Google Chrome. The Electronic Frontiers Foundation (which, although it does not legally represent Friendly, has been implicated in the case as it did with the Github vs. RIAA case) explains in an open letter that




"Friendly is a web browser, so we understand that Friendly does not 'access' or 'communicate' with Facebook in any way. Like other popular browsers such as Chrome or Firefox, Friendly does not 'access' Facebook: they are users who do.








Seven alternatives to the official Facebook application






Presumably Facebook knows that it should not directly accuse its users of being malicious hackers just for changing the colors of the websites they visit. "




What the EFF argues is that, if the US justice were to agree with Facebook, immediately a wide range of software would be outlawedFor example, there are countless extensions for browsers that alter in one way or another "the look and feel" of both Facebook and any other web page.



¿And what about accessibility applications that allow visually impaired users to enlarge the fonts and change the colors of the webs to improve their readability?



And that could happen, because Facebook has already been successful in the past in US courts with another similar lawsuit- In 2016, you managed to convince a court that a social media aggregator violated the law by allowing access to Facebook accounts, even when users agreed to register on the other platform.







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According to the EFF, Facebook is doing nothing more than limiting the freedom of users to choose how they access online services and blocking the freedom of innovation of third parties:




"The web is not television. Website owners may want to control every detail of how their sites look and function, but from the beginning, users have always been in control of their own experience: it is one of the defining characteristics of the Web.



Users can choose to rearrange the content they receive from websites, save it, send it to other people, or ignore some of it by blocking ads and tracking devices. "




Note: From Genbeta we have unsuccessfully contacted Facebook to find out their arguments regarding this case; We will incorporate them into the article when they are sent to us.






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  • Social networks and communities