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Facebook chat is locking you in.

Like many I use Facebook Chat not because I like it but because I have no other choice. I know, “you can use X, it’s way better”. But all of the alternatives have one fatal flaw: People don’t use them*.

And this is exactly what Facebook wants.

So, now they have the user base … and they are determined not to lose it.

1. Facebook Chat API

For now, Facebook still provides the Jabber/XMPP gateway to it’s chat. Most (if not all) 3rd party apps use this system. But it’s getting shut down in April 2015.

So a reasonable man would think they are only upgrading to a better system. No such luck.

2. Graph API

My next though was to check the graph API and yes, I found the /user/inbox edge. It let’s you read messages but not publish them. Ok, it’s something.

Starting with the process to get this permission required for that API endpoint approved on my app I stumbled upon this.

Permission to read Facebook Chat Inbox exists, but you won't get it granted.

Well f**k.

So it seems that after April I’ll have only two options:

  1. Crappy web client
  2. Crappy and reportedly highly privacy invasive android app.

Vendor lock-in at its finest.

* It should be noted that this refers to all the people I wish to talk to aka. my social cirle, which may not be (and probably isn’t) representative of all.