Facebook has brought the hammer down on a fledgling group messaging app MessageMe by blocking access to its social graph. The feature to find friends using MessageMe on iPhone brings up no results, except an error message.

The app's integration with Facebook stopped working late last week and hasn’t been up ever since. You will no longer be able to use the “find friends” function of the app that is connected to Facebook. The reason behind it is said to be that the app replicates too much of Facebook’s messenger app.

MessageMe was launched only a couple of weeks ago and has raced to the top of iTunes chart to sit comfortably on the number two spot. It is a private, multi-platform messaging app that allows you to chat with friends, send YouTube videos, voice recordings and be creative with drawing doodles and more. The iTunes page of the app says that users can share photos from Facebook and Instagram. You can also add friends from Facebook and chat with them. Once you’ve added your friends, you can even send push-to-talk walkie-talkie messages.

What will MessageMe do now?

What will MessageMe do now?

Not too long ago, Facebook added the ability to record short messages and send them to their friends from Facebook Messenger. Within the messenger app, users need to click on the “i” button and hit record.

For users of Facebook Messenger on iPhones in Canada and the US, the social networking giant has rolled out a full-fledged voice call feature from within the app. To make a call using this feature, users need to hit the “i” button and then choose “Free Call”. The feature works with Wi-Fi and existing data plans only in the two countries yet.

MessageMe’s ability to not just chat with Facebook friends but also send short voice messages to them is probably the two reasons why alarm bells went off in the Facebook HQ. The service, after all, was in direct competition with Facebook using its very own social graph.

In the past too, Facebook has either pulled the plug or disallowed apps to make use of the social graph. The most important example is that of Vine, Twitter’s short, GIF app. Vine users were disallowed to find their Facebook friends from within the app. The company also cut support to an app called Voxer that had been connected to it for well over a year. Why? The communications app that supported calling and voice chat turned into competition the moment Facebook started offering the very same features in its messenger app.

Here’s what Facebook’s Section 10 of its platform policy reads, “Reciprocity and Replicating core functionality: (a) Reciprocity: Facebook Platform enables developers to build personalized, social experiences via the Graph API and related APIs. If you use any Facebook APIs to build personalized or social experiences, you must also enable people to easily share their experiences back with people on Facebook. (b) Replicating core functionality: You may not use Facebook Platform to promote, or to export user data to, a product or service that replicates a core Facebook product or service without our permission.”

This was the statement Facebook had slammed when Voxer was in the wrong and this is the same section it is using in MessageMe’s case. Now we have to see how MessageMe evolves under this pressure.  

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