In response to my last post Bret Taylor, the CTO of Facebook, announced that they will be altering their robots.txt to whitelist particular crawlers rather than trying to enforce their new terms of service. This makes me very happy because it makes it much less likely that other companies will try to impose restrictions this way, leaving crawlers free to obey robots.txt without fear of litigation.
On a personal level I'm hoping that this helps me put this whole episode behind me too. I truly didn't set out to take on Facebook, I was just trying to build my product and rather naively stumbled into a minefield. The last few months of only dealing with their lawyers was very frustrating, and led me to conclude that there was a nefarious plan behind their attempt to impose a terms-of-service agreement beyond robots.txt. I believe Bret when he says it was just a lapse of judgment, and that admission should help me move on. I've always prided myself on being on the straight-and-narrow, and what rankled most was Facebook's legal team treating me like a shady spammer.
Thanks for everyone's support as I've been working through this, all you blog readers and commenters, and especially Liz for putting up with me pulling my hair out and banging my head on the desk as I tried to deal with it all!
Now to get back to building stuff, since I don't want to just be known as that guy who got sued by Facebook…