Tuesday, May 17, 2011

It was just getting started...

There are many things wrong with California jumping in to regulate Facebook's privacy policies:
  • Facebook is a world-wide service, not a California service. Why is this up to California?
  • Facebook has over five hundred million users. That's five times more than the number of people who watch the SuperBowl. Whatever Facebook is doing, it must be pretty reasonable.
  • Social network sites tend to only last about five years before the next new hotness overtakes them. The odds are against Facebook lasting all that long.

All of these matter, but the last one is most peculiar to Internet services. I really want to see what the next social site is like, and the next site after that. I don't relish a long sequence of watered-down Facebook clones with all of their paperwork properly stamped and in order. How dreary.


Graham said...

I'm not sure that regulating privacy necessarily will hinder the next Facebook. Moreover, I think most of us have some basic expectations about privacy that are often frequently violated, when, for example, defaults are unexpectedly changed or reset. There is definitely a difference between innovation and playing games with your users because there is currently a legal vacuum.

Lex Spoon said...

The privacy issues for Facebook are quite tricky. Unlike with many sites, Facebook's core functions require spreading information between its users. Stop the privacy leaks, and the site's core functionality will be in trouble.