"The Anti-Social Network": Jon Stewart wonders why Facebook has one privacy policy for us and another for themselves!

As usual, Stewart nails it - creates comedy out of Zuckerberg's hypocrisy: 

“Mark Zuckerberg doesn’t want to be transparent? The guy whose immense success was founded on mining our personal data, the guy who shares my photos with the whole world unless I change my privacy settings every half hour!?”


Adidas Scores Star Wars Viral Video Hit Before 2010 World Cup Even Begins

Adidas Originals has partnered up with LucasFilm to recreate the famous StarWars "Cantina" scene in preparation for the start of the 2010 FIFA World Cup later this week. Working with celebrities including David Beckham, Franz Beckenbauer, Snoop Dogg, Noel Gallagher, Ian Brown, Ciara, Jay Baruchel, Daft Punk and DJ Neil Armstrong, a set was constructed to the dimensions of the original movie set and included props and stand-ins to create one of the most creative re-edits ever.

Although the commercial is not set to launch on TV until June 12th, the video has already gone viral, generating over 1.5 million views on YouTube in just it's first 3 days.

According to Tom Ramsden, Adidas Originals Global Director of Communications:

“It brings together all elements of adidas Originals and the diverse people who wear it — artists, athletes, musicians, skaters and so on, all in one place, doing what they love to do. So when we thought about how to best present adidas’ partnerships with Star Wars and the 2010 FIFA World Cup™, we immediately thought of temporarily turning the Mos Eisley Cantina into a place to watch some football and invite some friends along. The result is a truly unique, original film.”

The Inevitability of Facebook, and other Fairy Tales

I don't believe in the "inevitability" of Facebook or Jack in the BeanStalk, although they're both great stories. To me Facebook is simply AOL circa 1998 dressed up in new Web 2.0 clothes. Don't get me wrong, I do think they'll end up being a very profitable company - just not as profitable and all-encompassing as many believe. Here's why....

What's happening now is the money-making limitations of being a Social Graph hub are being exposed, and Facebook has been forced to bastardize it's privacy policy and perform emergency business model surgery because of it. The hockey stick expectations of Facebook's future revenues need to be adjusted to reflect these limitations. In fact, if it were possible to arb Twitter against Facebook (Long Twitter at $1.5B and Short Facebook at $15B) I would do it immediately. Long 10 units of Twitter against short 1 unit of Facebook at current valuations to make $15B against $15B. It's the ultimate bet that the Interest Graph oriented platform monetizes better than the Social Graph oriented platform over the long term - and that Twitter's management is superior to that of Facebook's.

And therein lies the irony of Personal Graph monetization (I'm defining the Personal Graph as the combination of one's Social and Interest Graphs): People wont pay to communicate with people they already know, but they will pay (in one form or another) to connect and interact with people and content they're interested in but not currently unaware of, or are hard to find. You see, Facebook's decision to initially orient around a user's social graph is what will ultimately constrain it's ability to monetize at scale. At a certain point your symmetric "friends and family" Social Graph constrains your expression and exploration in a way that asymmetric, distributed Interest Graphs do not.

With that as a backdrop I wanted to pass along Loren Feldman's post on his decision to quit Facebook. I know a lot of people feel like Loren does - that Facebook is redundant and/or of little use outside of  keeping in touch with friends and relatives. BTW, there's nothing wrong with keeping in touch. It just doesn't make Facebook the $100 billion dollar company that many predict it will inevitably be.

Anyway, I'll have much more to say on this going forward. For now, here's Loren's post:

1938 Media / Report #17

I Quit Facebook

So I quit Facebook. I did it for a few reasons. None of them particularly "heavy".  I spoke about them on my site. I'll explain a little more here.

I never used it. I really never did. It was just too much. I have time to spit out bullshit to twitter in between other shit. It's easier.

It was impossible to figure out how to use whenever I did try and use it. Simply the worst interface ever. All the different fucking settings and walls and pages and profiles. Is it all cross posting? What's the difference with all this shit anyway? It was impossible to figure out.

I don't trust them. It's well documented how umm maybe less than honorable with people's data and privacy Mark Zuckerberg really is. Do a quick search on the matter if you are unfamiliar. His sister Randi is Julia Allison's best friend, need I say more?

It's not going to hurt my business one bit. It's not. I'm bigger than Facebook. I don't mean that arrogantly I'm just saying that I think my brand is established and I have a really cool site that I control. It's where my AUDIENCE and COMMUNITY is. I am Loren Feldman of 1938media.com. I am not facebook.com/lorenfeldman.
So that's basically it. No big deal really. What is a big deal though is this newsletter. I've been enjoying writing lately and I'm going to do more of it here. 
As always thanks for the support.
Best Regards,

Hey Facebook, Exactly WTF Is Going On Here?

Welcome to Facebook 2.0 - The Web Site That Knows What's Best For You!

Yes, this is a rant.

Last Friday night Facebook tried to sneak by some important changes to their Privacy Policy and related notifications hoping no one would notice. TechCrunch summed up the changes and their implications nicely with the headline:  "Facebook’s Plan To Automatically Share Your Data With Sites You Never Signed Up For"

Fortunately ReadWriteWeb, The ACLU of Northern California, and others also came forward quickly to highlight these changes, their potential ramifications and the manner in which the news was (or was not) disseminated. BTW, if you want notifications on any of the new privacy policy changes that Facebook will inevitably be shoving down your throat in the future, you now have to "Become a Fan" of the Facebook Site Governance Page.

OH, WAIT A MINUTE - BEFORE YOU HIT THAT "BECOME A FAN" BUTTON..... Monday afternoon an email obtained from MediaMemo announced that Facebook is going to be changing the "Become A Fan" button to the "Like" button. Facebook tells advertisers:

As part of a larger effort to improve user experience, increase engagement and promote consistency across Facebook, users will soon be able to connect with your Page by clicking “Like” rather than “Become a Fan.”

“Like” offers a light-weight, consistent way for users to connect with the things they are passionate about. This lighter-weight action for connecting to a Page on Facebook means that users will be making more connections across the site, including your Facebook Page.

The core functionality of Pages remains unchanged. For instance, your Page will still have distribution into News Feed. The purpose of this change is to maintain Pages’ powerful communication channels, while making it easier for users to connect with Pages.

This is my favorite - "“Like” offers a light-weight, consistent way for users to connect ....". Yeah, because the "Become a Fan" button is SO heavy and inconsistent. Honestly, I don't know how much more insultingly condescending they could be. It's as though they believe we're going to simply swallow this nonsense whole and without question. But wait, the Facebook hit parade just keeps marching on.

AllFacebook then goes on to highlight that "One of the major drivers of the verb changes is that “Like” performs much better than “Become A Fan”. No sh*t Sherlock! That's because when you click "Like" anywhere else on the web you're not blindly opting-in to a marketer's feed. Users will think they're simply gesturing approval for some piece of content or brand, when in actuality they're unknowingly becoming "Fans" and (according to Mashable) will begin receiving updates from the brand in their News Feeds. So there you have it; In another calculated yet comically transparent manuever, Facebook is going to attempt to redefine the word "like" and devalue a recognizable Internet convention that users know and are comfortable with in order that they can juice the number of ad pages served. Brilliant!

Seriously, "As part of a larger effort to improve user experience...."? Do you think for one nanosecond that we're buying what you're selling? Let me rewrite that first sentence to reflect what I'm fairly certain you're actually trying to achieve with all of this, "As part of a larger effort to increase our revenues as rapidly as possible, we'll be sharing both your and your social graph's info with as many marketers as we can and will be exposing your data to as much search engine indexing as possible, with or without your permission. We'll also be creating an incomprehensible maze of settings that you must learn how to reconfigure in order to re-establish the privacy that we promised you in the first place. Welcome to Facebook 2.0 - The Web Site That Knows What's Best For You! ".

As I said the other day, "Facebook is looking more & more like a giant consumer harvesting machine optimized for marketers". But does anybody care? I think Kid Mercury put it best in his comment on ReadWriteWeb:

"When are people going to wake up and stop using Facebook? That's what I find so frustrating. We hold all the cards. Facebook started as being pro-privacy, and because that's a poor business model for a mass social network, they've had to sell out. Seriously lame, but not as lame as the users who put up with it."

Let me be clear, I am 100% in favor of Facebook exploring (and finding) innovative ways to monetize their platform. But to continually and consistently debase their privacy policies while insulting the intelligience of their users is almost incomprehensible. Smart users are going to lock down their accounts or leave altogether, and the only users left to monetize will be the ones that marketers aren't even interested in reaching. What is Facebook going to do then?

As I mentioned previously: "The pressure to perform financially in advance of their widely expected IPO is increasing, and it's starting to show in both Facebook's words and actions. And none of it is good news for Facebook users." Because of those pressures they're now forced to sacrifice their original vision to the gods and pray for short-term financial results.

Let's hope they can pull their head's out and make things right. Unfortunately I'm not optimistic. As Jason Calacanis says in his post of December 13th, 2009:

"...the fact remains they screw up on important issues almost as if it’s a “best practice” to do so."

At the same time, Chris Sacca had this to say on Twitter:

"Each time Facebook makes an ugly privacy move, it not only betrays users, but the rest of the Valley has a field day recruiting engineers."

So for now I'm anxiously awaiting a mea culpa, but I'm not holding my breath.


Here's the memo that Facebook is circulating to it's marketing partners: