Facebook To Open Source Facebook Platform

Sometime soon, perhaps this week, Facebook will turn the year-old Facebook Platform into an open source project, multiple sources have told us. The immediate effect will be to allow any social network to become Facebook Platform compatible – meaning application developers can easily take their Facebook applications and have them run on those social networks, too.

Bebo already licenses the Facebook Platform, which allows third parties to make their Facebook applications work on Bebo, too. With the new announcement, social networks won’t need to go through the hassle of doing a deal with Facebook. They’ll simply map their existing APIs to Facebook Platform (which isn’t trivial) and go. Expect to see the four major technical pieces of Facebook Platform – FMBL (markup language), FQL (query language), FJS (Javascript library) and the Facebook API to be open sourced and made available to anyone.

If they mirror the Open Social approach, third parties will be free to change the Facebook Platform components for their own use and deploy them on their own sites. To have those changes be incorporated into the official versions of Facebook Platform, however, would require Facebook’s approval.

This is a nearly inevitable response to Open Social, which is backed by Google, MySpace and Yahoo. Open Social is also an open source platform, run by the Open Social Foundation. Facebook has been looking more and more like a walled garden of late, and they are being regularly out maneuvered by competitors. Time to fight back.