Facebook integration is a boon to most app makers, a huge source of publicity and virality — but many are beginning to distance themselves from relying on the social network. A new report from the Wall Street Journal details the fears startups like Highlight and Pinterest are experiencing in anticipation of Facebook some day charging money for its APIs and data. Apps like Highlight plug in to Facebook and rely on its data to connect you with people nearby that have common interests or friends.
"Twelve months ago, every entrepreneur would have said, 'I'm going to build my company around Facebook's platform,'" venture capitalist Chi-Hua Chien told the Journal. "Now, every entrepreneur says I'm going to build my product, and Facebook will be a key component." Evidently, new companies leveraging Facebook want to be less like Zynga (which received 93% of its revenue from virtual goods on Facebook in 2011) and more like Pinterest, which uses Facebook to find friends and post updates.
On the eve of Facebook's IPO, it's no wonder startups are worried that the company will shift its priorities from offering free data to monetizing this data. "Facebook's free and always will be," the site's homepage reads, but does that only mean to sign up?