Facebook Confirms Open Source Plans

Details begin to materialize about Facebook's plans to counter rival MySpace's open source developer platform.

Facebook Tuesday confirmed that it is preparing to further open its platform so that third-party developers will be able to create applications using its source code that will run on other environments.

Facebook's move toward open source follows a flurry of announcements from Web companies -- itself included -- talking up openness initiatives that would break down the walls between different sites on the social Web.

Earlier this month, MySpace came out with its Data Availability program, Facebook countered with Connect, and Google followed by unveiling Friend Connect.

In a broad sense, each of these was designed to enable people to carry their identities beyond the boundaries of the sites, and it has created a race among the Web giants to prove who can be the most open and interoperable.

"We're working on an open source initiative that is meant to help application developers better understand Facebook Platform and more easily build applications, whether it's by running their own test servers, building tools or optimizing their applications," the company said this afternoon in a statement.

"As Facebook Platform continues to mature, open sourcing the infrastructure behind it is a natural step so developers can build richer social applications and share what they've learned with the ecosystem. Additional details will be released soon," the statement added.

Facebook just celebrated the first anniversary of its developer platform, which is widely credited for the company's surging popularity that has narrowed the gap with rival social network MySpace. Applications built on the Facebook Platform now number more than 20,000, ranging from interactive ABC News features to the wildly popular hatching egg app.

For its part, MySpace followed suit with its own platform, announced in February and opened in full in March.

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