Friday, November 30, 2007

Cory Doctorow Isn't Optimistic About Facebook

He writes:

If there was any doubt about Facebook's lack of qualification to displace the Internet with a benevolent dictatorship/walled garden, it was removed when Facebook unveiled its new advertising campaign. Now, Facebook will allow its advertisers use the profile pictures of Facebook users to advertise their products, without permission or compensation. Even if you're the kind of person who likes the sound of a benevolent dictatorship this clearly isn't one.

Many of my colleagues wonder if Facebook can be redeemed by opening up the platform, letting anyone write any app for the service, easily exporting and importing their data, and so on (this is the kind of thing Google is doing with its OpenSocial Alliance). Perhaps if Facebook takes on some of the characteristics that made the Web work -- openness, decentralization, standardization -- it will become like the Web itself, but with the added pixie dust of "social," the indefinable characteristic that makes Facebook into pure crack for a significant proportion of Internet users.

--I think it's quite possible that Facebook will bite the doubt. I don't buy that it will be killed by "your creepy co-workers" because creepy classmates haven't even come close to hurting it on college campuses. I would think Facebook's huge estimated value is in part due to a small chance that it will become the next Google. There's also a change that it will wither away (look at a list of top websites 10 years ago), but Mr. Doctorow get paid to make predictions, even though nobody can really know what will happen. Get the full version here

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