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Gossip: Facebook's rumored IM service involves Social.IM acquisition

A rather unsubstantiated report suggests that the social network will be purchasing one of its own developer applications in order to fuel a new IM client. The developers in question sure are having fun with the rumor.

On Friday, a rumor surfaced that Facebook would be launching an internal instant-messaging service. Then, on Saturday, gossip blog Valleywag suggested that launching the IM service would involve acquiring Social.IM, a Facebook application that enables instant message chat between services like AIM, Yahoo, and Windows Live Messenger. A Social.IM exec coyly told Valleywag, "If we're being bought, I haven't gotten the call yet."

Social.IM's coy tease at getting acquired by Facebook. Caroline McCarthy/CNET

Social.IM is supported by venture backing from Valley icon Peter Thiel, who also has invested in Facebook.

One thing Valleywag didn't note is that in response to the rumor on Friday, Social.IM representatives had posted to their blog a fake IM conversation between Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and a Social.IM representative. The dialogue consisted solely of that famous exchange between Star Wars' Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader in which Vader (Zuckerberg) attempts to coerce Skywalker (Social.IM) to join the Dark Side.

On Saturday afternoon, the blog post was pulled from Social.IM. Perhaps that's because the undertones of the faux-conversation indeed hint at an acquisition, or at least joke about the possibility of one.

"You have only begun to discover your power," the Vader-Zuckerberg character reads. "Join me, and I will complete your training. With our combined strength, we can end this destructive conflict and bring order to the galaxy."

(Poor, misunderstood Darth Vader. Sounds like all he ever really wanted was to help the world communicate more efficiently.)