Google: Facebook is blocking Google+ invite links

Google: Facebook is blocking Google+ invite links

Summary: Google is implying that Facebook is blocking Google+ invites on its service. Facebook has countered that this is simply not true.

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Soon after Google+ launched, Google shut down its invite system because of high demand. Now, Google allows its users to invite more people, and an obvious place for them to look is the world's largest social network: Facebook. Users are thus sharing Google+ invite links on their Facebook walls. Google claimed this week that Facebook is actively blocking these invites.

Vic Gundotra, Google Senior Vice President of social business, linked to a video posted on YouTube (embedded above) demonstrating that Google+ invites shared on Facebook were not showing up in the News Feed of other Facebook users. "We are getting reports of Google+ invite links not showing up on Facebook news feeds anymore (they appear to have stopped on Friday), he wrote on Google+. "I wonder how widespread this problem is?"

Comments on Gundotra's Google+ post filled up to the max with users trying to reproduce the issue. "Vic's post is filling up with comments (yeah... we'll fix that) so wanted to give you another place to share your experiences... and insights...," Bradley Horowitz, Google's vice president of product management, posted on Google+. Comments on both threads reported mixed results: some had the issue while others did not.

Facebook has denied the fact that it is stopping users from sharing the Google+ invite URL. The social networking giant noted that it has a display-filtering technology that helps prevent spam, which almost always includes a link. As a result, it is possible for this system to exclude a certain link from re-appearing on a user's News Feed if it has previously been posted several times.

"We have seen the video but have been unable to replicate the experience it shows," a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement. "Newsfeed is an automated system that is designed to deliver the most relevant content to you and your friends. The technology evaluates hundreds of factors, including your relationship to the poster, the type of content, the click-through rate (where appropriate), and people hiding similar posts from their feed. In real time, it decides what to display to you and what to filter for both Top News and Most Recent. It also includes systems that attempt to identify and block spam. Links have a history of the most abuse and are given the most scrutiny. As a result of all of these factors, a given link may be shown or filtered to people differently at different times."

I tried reproducing this issue myself and Google+ invites appear just fine on all my friends' News Feeds. Sister site CNET also failed to recreate the behavior on multiple accounts at different times of day.

Some speculate this could be a Google plot to spur distrust for Facebook while bringing more attention to Google+. I'm not sure the search giant would go that far, but I think it's telling the company's employees chose to post about the issue on their own social network rather than contacting Facebook directly and asking for an explanation.

See also:

Topics: Social Enterprise, Apps, Google

Emil Protalinski

About Emil Protalinski

Emil is a freelance journalist writing for CNET and ZDNet. Over the years,
he has covered the tech industry for multiple publications, including Ars
Technica, Neowin, and TechSpot.

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

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20 comments
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  • RE: Google: Facebook is blocking Google invite links

    Google jumped the gun on this issue. They should have done a more thorough investigation especially when people are saying they are getting the invites.
    LoverockDavidson_-24231404894599612871915491754222
  • Sounds just like BingGate

    wah! Bing is *allegedly* stealing our search results, even though they really are not.
    Your Non Advocate
  • RE: Google: Facebook is blocking Google invite links

    I'm sure they did have trouble at some points. May not have been widespread and I highly doubt it was Facebook being malicious.
    I also don't think that contacting Facebook directly would really be the way I would go either. You can either talk to lawyers or write a one off post.
    hmmm.....Which seams easier? Both would get the same result.
    I'm sure the added bonus of people posting google+ invites attempting to recreate the problem isn't something Google will argue with either.
    nickmcel
  • RE: Google: Facebook is blocking Google invite links

    i tried doing this YESTERDAY when the issue was first announced and was able to reproduce it. If this is a spam catching issue no wonder you cant reproduce it now as facebook took the 5 seconds to put a exclude blocking/delaying links to plus.google.com
    wutname1
  • RE: Google: Facebook is blocking Google invite links

    I have had facebook block it for me earlier in the week.
    allisonr124
    • RE: Google: Facebook is blocking Google invite links

      @allisonr124 Facebook is just trying to save you from losing friends. No one cares about your Google+ invites. That is why 95% of invitations for Google+ are going unclicked by recipients.
      jkfan87
  • RE: Google: Facebook is blocking Google invite links

    Facebook blocked the link/news Google+ invite that I posted. Seems to me to be legit since I have the same issue. The URLs are not exactly the same and do they really think that thousands of different accounts posting the link 1-2 times is massive spam that must be blocked? Give me a break. I would also ask why hot breaking news links posted by hundreds of thousands of users never run into this problem, and that is the exact same URL that is massively reposted from a news site.
    tim.w.jung@...
  • RE: Google: Facebook is blocking Google invite links

    GOOGLE IS EVIL. They are in the habit of accusing competitors to bring attention to themselves and their products. Everyone should avoid them at all cost. They are going to fail miserably in their endeavours.
    techiegz@...
    • RE: Google: Facebook is blocking Google invite links

      @techiegz@... the moment Facebook knew that a lot of people were already noticing the blocked invites, it only took a few seconds to change that. it's as simple as flipping a switch. then nobody can replicate the issue any more. i think though they'll be flipping it back on from time to time when this issue cools down. it's just part of the game.
      ayandyan@...
  • RE: Google: Facebook is blocking Google invite links

    I wouldn't be surprised.FB plays dirty.Oh,and I posted lots of links in FB and they never were filtered.So,I don't buy FB excuses.
    anto31
  • RE: Google: Facebook is blocking Google invite links

    I haven't been able to gets my posts to show up on "The
    Wall" for over a year. Anyone who complains to facebook can get someone blocked-even if the posts come from a I post no evil webmaster-Gary Graefen
    garygraefen
  • RE: Google: Facebook is blocking Google invite links

    What Facebook is blocking is their own users from posting accusing some of us of "spamming & irrelevant content." I received that warning yesterday after I posted the warning about that on some FB blogger & news pages.
    I immediately got a Google+ invite, & I'm encouraging everyone to play with the adults, where we are not treated like children. If Facebook does not want my business, they can't have it, and I'll encourage everyone to move to Google+.
    FBookers are fighting back https://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=205722829486259
    Some news pages are reporting this
    http://www.examiner.com/animal-action-in-national/facebook-spam-filters-take-aim-at-animal-advocacy-pages
    http://bikyamasr.com/39695/facebook-spams-animal-rights-pages/
    http://www.allfacebook.com/liberals-cry-foul-over-censorship-on-facebook-2011-08
    Jessica Naomi
    • RE: Google: Facebook is blocking Google invite links

      @Jessica Naomi The very fact that you think that being on Google+ makes you more adult is proof that you are a child. All being on Google+ makes you is more lonely than you are in real life.
      jkfan87
  • Facebook is blocking also Web App Google Plus

    check it out ( italian language ) :
    http://www.fattorezero.it/blog/2011/08/google-accusa-facebook-blocca-gli-inviti-a-google-plus.html
    Fattore Zero
  • Wow, what a sucker punch

    What an easy way to have Google+ invites go through the roof. Hey guys, wired transfers into my bank account are blocked... Go ahead try transferring me some money...
    gama2s
  • RE: Google: Facebook is blocking Google invite links

    I don't understand why all the posters here hate Google.. they are NOT a convicted monopolist, they haven't jumped on the offensive patent litigation bandwagon, they haven't been caught submitting (to court) doctored images of the Galaxy 10.1 tablets aspect ratio to make it look more ipadish, and nearly all of their stuff is free to users.
    They are not perfect, but for a multinational giant corporation, they seem to be a lot less evil then the other players like M$ and Apple IMHO.

    sounds totally evil to me.
    frankieh
  • RE: Google: Facebook is blocking Google invite links

    No surprise there :p Which business doesn't want to prevent their customers from living them in favour of a competitor?
    MrElectrifyer
  • RE: Google: Facebook is blocking Google invite links

    Enough with the fighting, you two! I really wish Facebook and Google would just stop all the fighting. Has anyone else noticed the irony about these two companies dictating to us all how we should be social networking when they don't even get along with each other?! Instead, they should first learn to network with EACH OTHER, be the models for us on how to be good 'friends' and 'followers', and socialize in a socially responsible manner. Why would anyone want to join either network till they both show SOME signs of wanting to shake hands and talk to each other? The public should be protesting their behavior, and demanding open standards. It is just not fair that any time we, consumers, are unsatisfied or have bad user experiences with one social network and decide to switch 'providers', we lose our 'social identity', lose access to our friends and relationships, and have to learn a new social application all over again, purely due to the lack of portability and standards. There are few things in the world that are suited to this kind of approach, but the internet, WWW, and social networking are definitely firmly in the camp that should belong to the PEOPLE, and not these walled gardens. My dream: My dream: Facebook and Google shake hands, talk to, network with EACH OTHER, and lead an effort to get social networking companies, government and citizens to form a consortium, come up with open standards in social identity and networking - a la World Wide Web Consortium. I am also hoping all social networking eventually becomes peer-to-peer so I own the posts, images, videos and relationships, that I share on the internet - a la Disapora. Time for a social revolution in social networking. I hope some Ph.D. students who are passionate about truly bringing people together, in some university, somewhere in the world, are working on this problem....
    socialnOtworking
  • RE: Google: Facebook is blocking Google invite links

    Even if they were, which hey aren't, who cares? Go into Target and start handing out flyers for Walmart and see how long you last before getting kicked out.
    jkfan87
  • Facebook SPAM filter is a piece of S**T

    Facebook SPAM filter is a piece of S**T. I can't share my favorite website, GetLikesEasy, http://getlikeseasy.com on Facebook!
    arahmed123