Thursday, February 19, 2009

This thing with Facebook is so totally overblown.

Couple days late to this party yes but its been a lot of blow with very little show.    Here's why:

The likelihood that Facebook is going to start harvesting user content and turning a buck on it is almost exactly zero.    First and most obviously is the fact that Facebook can handle very little on site content so unless you pen the most awesome haiku of all time there just isn't going to be much opportunity for theft there.   Well you say, what about all the genius posted on my blog which I link to Facebook?  Okay, somewhat more plausible but only somewhat.   Is it really anyone's belief that Facebook or any entity walking the corporate planet is going to build a profitable business model around sorting through all the crap it has access to and somehow separate the wheat from the chaff package it and rob the creator of some fat residuals?   In a billion lifetimes that will never be profitable but lets assume Im off by about a billion and Facebook is even now sitting on some alchemical technology that will identify the cutest baby pictures or worm its way through 5 million shit blogs and find the little piles of money just waiting to be picked up.  Say that happens.  Well then Facebook ceases to exist because no matter how much user content they sell it wont make up for allllllll the lost ad revenue they'll be looking at when people flee their network upon finding out that its a scam.  "Facebook.  The Social Network That Screws You!! Register Now!!"   Never happen.  They can misuse content or they can have a site with over 150 million regular users but they can't have both.  Which is more likely to put food on the table?

So why'd they do it??  Dunno.  But my guess is that this is a case study in how lawyers create billable hours out of nothing.   Facebook does have some legit concerns going forward in not being named as a third party in some squabble over who owns that picture of us at the lake that weekend before we got divorced.  They don't want to deal with that shit on a case by case basis and I don't blame them.   So an identified concern gets totally overblown into an excessively legalesed policy and is grossly mishandled.  Consequently Facebook ends up releasing a statement essentially saying , "we're not evil, we just look like we are."   Not good.  Not good at all.   But no one is ever going to be able to actually produce a chunk of fallen sky on this one.

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