Both Google and Facebook are run like absolute monarchies in which hundreds of millions of users (digital serfs, some might say) have created identities. Rather like mercantilist countries in the offline realm, both companies operate policies to protect this asset.
(…) But Facebook, the world’s biggest social network, wants to keep control of its serfs’ data and therefore stops them exporting contacts easily.
(…) Facebook’s position smacks of hypocrisy. The firm has been able to grow so fastprecisely because it has sucked in e-mail addresses from new members, enabling them to see which of their contacts are also on the network.
The war with Google has just started, but it's over hegemony all the same.