Facebook’s Problem = FSW Opportunity

ReadWriteWeb’s social Blog has an articule up referencing a conversation the author had with Mark Cuban about Facebook’s business model and integrity challenges.

Apparently Facebook is now going to charge brands a huge amount to reach the base of fans they have accumulated on facebook.

I’ve heard anecdotally about a huge brand that was complaining recently because it has spent four years building a following of millions of people, promoting its Facebook presence (and, by implication, Facebook itself) on expensive television ads – and now Facebook has flipped a switch and, overnight, their reach dropped by 40%.

So now they’re done. They’ve been burned, and, like Cuban, they’re looking elsewhere.

A few weeks back I as in a tweeted to a woman complaining how Facebook was shaping which of her friend’s updates she saw and even asking her to pay money to have her updates go to more of her friends. I said that when we had a federated social web she wouldn’t have this problem we would choose which of our friends we would follow and get updates from.

I attended my 3rd out of three federated social web summits last week eek it feels like last week it was 2 weeks ago just after IIW 15. Evan Prodromo pulled together an amazing group of folks working on key aspects of the challenge.

Phil Wolff and I presented about the emerging Personal Cloud offerings coming out of our community of companies (the Personal Data Ecosystem Startup Circle)

Tantek shared POSSE – Publish On your Own Site Syndicate Everywhere.

Even gave an update on where OStatus the stack of protocols that gives you twitter and facebook like functionality across services.

We learned about many other projects. too (you can see them on the wiki here).

I’m glad that folks like Mark Cuban are waking up to the fact there is an issue with Facebook and they should be looking elsewere. Facebook is to social what AOL and Compuserve were to e-mail. It will be disrupted by the Open Standards based infrastructure must of it based on Open Source code. People will have their own personal node on the network – a personal cloud where they will connect to others and to organizations they want to share with, connect with and do business with.

It would be great to see some big investments in core open infrastructure that can then be leveraged to make money afterwards. This is what Doc Searls is always saying you make money because of it not with it.  We need the web to continue extending to being the type that Nobody Owns, Everyone can Use it and Anyone improve it.  Open Standards are the key to this. I argue they are more important then open source code alone (look at diaspora open source but rolled its own way of doing things…and didn’t interoperate with other projects/efforts doing similar things)

If you were to ask me what would get us to the future fastest though it is open source implementations of those open standards are invaluable and what “investors” like Mark Cuban and others who are now seeing the danger of one company “owning” the social profiles and identities of a billion people should consider funding now with no strings attached.

I was asked by an investor group that I gave a day long briefing to about the the emerging Personal Data Ecosystem. I said I would give Evan Prodromo 12 million dollars no strings attached (as in you are not seeking a return on the money with more money) the deliverable for that money would be a working federated social web in 1 year. On that web one can build a huge variety of businesses and services in new ways not possible on today’s web (or at least not possible without creepy stalking and trackers and paying middle men like facebook to talk to your “fans”).  That web itself…shouldn’t be “owned” it needs to be created though.





On Identity and Centralization

I was asked for a quote today to comment on F8 developments and the continuing apparent “centralization” of identity on that platform. It is not new for me to say these things but perhaps more crystallized…..

The turning point of the web becoming more social was mentioned several times today.

The issue at hand is fundamentally about FREEDOM: the freedom to choose who hosts your identity online (with the freedom to set up and host your own), the freedom to choose your persona – how you present yourself, what your gender is, your age, your race, your sex, where you are in the world. A prime example of WHY these freedoms are vital is the story of James Chartrand – you can read for yourself her story of being a “him” online as a single mother seeking work as a copy editor. Having a male identity was the way she succeeded.

We did a whole session at She’s Geeky the women’s technology unconference about women, identity and privacy online. ALL the women in that session had between 3-5 personas for different aspects of life and purposes. Many of those personas were ‘ungendered’ or male. I have not talked to many people of color about their online lives and persona management but should. I imagine that like women they choose for some of their persona not to identify racially.

Your “friends” shouldn’t be locked into a particular commercial context. This is where the work on client-side applications for identity management and social coordination for individuals are key. The browser was never designed to do these kinds of functions and I don’t think trying to make it do them is wise.

We need open “friend” standards where people are autonomous, without their identity tied to a commercial silo – like Google, Yahoo, Facebook, Microsoft, AOL, or any company. This is a vision of a web where I can “peer friend” my friends, and then no entity has power over our relationship. This requires people to be first-class objects on the web. Not easy to do, but essential for us to figure out.

The Age of Privacy is Over????

ReadWriteWeb has coverage of Zuckerberg’s talk with Arrington at the Crunchies. According to him, the age of Privacy is Over. This is the quote that is just STUNNING:

..we decided that these would be the social norms now and we just went for it.

When I first heard it in the interview in the video I did a major double take – “we decided” ?? seriously? The we in that sentence is Facebook and clearly with Zuckerburg is at the helm – He could have said “I decided” and he as the CEO of a social network has the power to “decide” the fate of the privately shared amongst friends in the context of this particular social network for millions of people (see my post about the privacy move violating the contract with users). It makes you wonder if this one platform has too much power and in this example makes the case for a distributed social network where people have their own autonomy to share their information on their own terms and not trust that the company running a platform will not expose their information.

It is clear that Zuckerberg and his team don’t get social norms and how they work – people create social norms with their usage and practices in social space (both online and off).

It is “possible” to change what is available publicly and there for making it normal by flipping a switch and making things that were private public for millions of people, but it is unethical and undermines the trust people have in the network.

I will agree there is an emerging norm that young men working building tools in Silicon Valley have a social norm of “being public about everything”, but they are not everyone. I am looking forward to seeing social tools developed by women and actual community organizers rather then just techno geeks.

I will have more to say on this later this week – I was quite busy Saturday – I ran the Community Leadership Summit, yesterday I flew to DC and today I am running the Open Government Directive Workshop. While I am here I hope to meet with folks about Identity in DC over the next 2 days.

Suicide Options for Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter

I have another post up on ReadWriteWeb that went up just after Christmas covering people who are choosing to leave Facebook or considering doing so along with the tools to help them.

Fed Up with Facebook Privacy Issues? Here is how to End it All.

It highlights two different Web 2.0 suicide machines; one is an art project called Seppukoo.com .

The service creates a virtual memorial for you and posts you on a suicide wall & they give you points for how many friends you had and how many of them choose to follow you to the “after life”. The leader board is here.  You can see the RIP page for one of the creators of the service – Gionatan Quintini here.

It received a cease and desist from Facebook and responded.

The response is not covered in the article (it wasn’t out when I wrote it). It has some great quotes that sound like language coming from the user-centric identity community.

5. My clients have the right to receive information, ideas, and photographs from those people whom are the legitimate proprietors of this data and can decide to share this data or to store it, with the prior consent of its respective owners. All of this is freedom of expression and the manifestation of thought and free circulation of ideas that is accepted and guaranteed in Europe and in the U.S.A.

6. Facebook cannot order the erasure of data that does not belong to it, acting against the free will of the owners of such data. This is not protection of privacy, but rather a violation of the free will of citizens that can decide freely and for themselves how to arrange their personal sphere.

We shall see how Facebook responds to this.

Web 2.0 Suicide Machine is more comprehensive – covering LinkedIn & Twitter as well.

Here is the previous Read Write Web post on the changes in what is and is not public.

IIW is NOT an advocacy group – sigh “the media”

Facebook’s Online Identity War quotes me and labels IIW an advocacy group. IT IS AN INDUSTRY FORUM. Douglas MacMillan.

Sorry but I am still learning “how” to talk to reporters. They don’t like to quote me as “the identity woman” and link to my blog.

I “do” run the Identity Workshop with Phil and Doc but that doesn’t make it an “advocacy group”

Identity Commons & IIW have a purpose and principles believing in user/centric identity. The power of individuals to manage and control their own identities online. We don’t “advocate” for them – we create a convening space for people who want to work on this ideal.

Facebook does on some level “agree” with the idea of user-centric identity – Luke Shepard has participated in the community for quite a while & they hired David Recordon. They sponsor IIW.

I am clear that the opening up of previously controlled information with no warning “jives” with my understanding of user-centric control. It was more from my own point of view I was commenting. That is with my “identity woman” hat on… and the values I carry from Planetwork and the ASN… but the press hates that. Uggg. Chris Messina gets to be an “open web advocate”… that is what I do to but just about identity “open Identity advocate” (mmm…) but then that sounds like “just” OpenID and it isn’t just about that one particular protocol. sigh.

I am still wondering – How does one “belong” and have “titles” in a way the media can GROK when one does not have a formal position in a formal organization.

sigh – identity issues.

Facebook Privacy Changes leave us “Socially Nude”

Read Write Web published a guest post by me about how the changes at facebook last week leave us Socially Nude.

Facebook’s Privacy Move Violates Contract With Users

Your name, profile picture, gender, current city, networks, Friends List, and all the pages you subscribe to are now publicly available information on Facebook. This means everyone on the web can see it; it is searchable.

This represents just the latest instance of Facebook violating the contract it holds with its users. This is no small matter, either. Lots of people will have very real and valid objections to this arbitrary change to what’s public and what’s private on Facebook.

….an articulation of the nature of the social contract sites with social features have with users….

I wonder how many more times they will get strip us down, leaving our familiar social clothes and underware on the floor, and leaving us socially nude.

I think it is unethical and I agree with the concern that Jason Calacanis raises about how this will affect other Internet companies. “Facebook’s reckless behavior is… simultaneously making users distrust the Internet and bringing the attention of regulators.” This change will affect all of us working on building the new techno-social architecture of our society via the web.

Facebook Changing Privacy Settings

This past month has been interesting for Facebook – they hired Timothy Sparapani as their lobbyist in Washington:

As a prominent privacy advocate, Timothy Sparapani, former senior legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union, argued that Internet companies have too much control over consumers’ data. The self-described “privacy zealot” didn’t join Facebook until seven months ago because he was uneasy about revealing personal information on the site.

He joins 24-year-old Adam Coner for the last year who has had as his main job “educat[ing] members of Congress and Capitol Hill staffers about leveraging Facebook to reach constituents.”

The current Chief Privacy officer Chris Kelly will be going on a leave of absence in September to focus on running for Attorney General of California.

EPIC has a very detailed page about Facebook Privacy. It is an impressive page that will give you pause. It outlines all the major features of the service it has concerns about. It has a list of all the EPIC Actions related to Facebook too.

This week Facebook is taking some steps to improve privacy from its website:

The power to share is the cornerstone of Facebook. Privacy and the tools for tailoring what information is shared with whom are at the heart of trust. Over the past five years, Facebook has learned that effective privacy is grounded in three basic principles:

  • Control. When people can easily control the audience for their information and content, they share more and they’re able to better connect with the people who matter in their lives.
  • Simplicity. When tools are simple, people are more likely to use them and understand them.
  • Connection. With effective tools, people can successfully balance their desire to control access to information with their desire to connect – to discover and be discovered by those they care about.

That’s why in the coming days, we’ll be improving privacy on Facebook by launching a series of tests that guide people to new, simpler tools of control and connection.

I wrote about some of the issues I have with Facebook when I heard Dave Morin talk at SXSW “Am I to “old” to get Facebook – or do they not get it?”. I highlighted 3 different issues:

  • What Blane Cook describes as “being in a room with everyone you ever met all the time”: all my friends from different contexts of my life get all the same ‘status’ updates and I don’t use them cause I feel like it is social spam to speak to them with the same voice and same frequency. I also don’t like that it broadcasts everything I “do” in the network to everyone.
  • “Real Names” vs. handles online – their belief they have “everyone’s real name in facebook”
  • The difference that women experience in online space and how they manage and protect their identity and what information is online.

Here is what they are saying about how to address this issue:

They are introducing a Publisher Privacy Control so that on a per-post basis users can control who sees each post. Friends, Friends and Family etc. On the other end of the spectrum, you can also share with “everyone” now.

They are simplifying their privacy settings. Hopefully this will make it more usable.

They are figuring out how to gracefully help people transition between the old settings and the new way.

They are asking everyone to revisit their settings…because:

We think Facebook is most useful when people can find and connect with each other, which is why this tool will enable you to make available those parts of your profile that you feel comfortable sharing in order to facilitate better connection. You will have the choice of being as open or as limited in the sharing of this information as you want.

The byline on the post is cute:

Chris Kelly, Facebook’s chief privacy officer, is glad to be offering you more control.

Read Write Web goes into their understanding of the announcement and user experience. This is a long, good piece.

FU – The Monday After, Facebook Usernames and Your Domain on the Web

Last week it was announced that on on Friday Night at 9pm Pacific Facebook had a name space land rush. Everyone was free to pick for themselves their username that would appear in their URL. facebook.com/username

I actually found this a bit surprising – remember the big debate on the Social Web TV I had with Josh Elman about “real names.” He was against handles completely and felt that the big value facebook brought was “real names”. I argued for handles and the freedom to choose one’s “identity” on the web. I made the point that free society – having the ability freedom to have the option to have and use handles on the web NOT linked to our given/ in real life names. Another thing is that handles help us navigate namespace clash from regular names. Max from MySpace is 8bitkid not some other Max in a sea of Max’s.

I ran into Josh Elman at the Building43 party and we agreed I kinda won the debate with this latest development. It seems that having peoples pages rank higher in google is helped by having readable URL’s.

They of course “strongly encouraged” people to just pick a URL with one’s real name and did so by “suggesting” names that were derivatives of one’s name. You could override this and type in your own name choice (however defaults matter so most people will end up with names similar to their real name – rather then being asked to think up one). They give users an addressable identity.

Max Engel of MySpace became /8BitKid – his handle “everywhere”

David Recordon surprisingly didn’t go with DaveMan692 – his handle most places – he is /DavidRecordon

My friend Jennifer became /dangerangel as she had originally signed up for in Facebook but they disallowed her to have it.

I just became /Kaliya (I am hoping I can get enough fans to claim /identitywoman for that persona)

What is particularly interesting is the layers of identity in Facebook.

With a Facebook URLFacebook has the one’s username is not one’s e-mail address as it is with Google profiles and one also has a common name (or as they say “real name”) that is presented to throughout the system.

Google ironically enough they ask if you want a “contact” me button on your page that does not give away your e-mail address when the profile URL gives away your e-mail address.

Twitter has /usernames AND another display name of your choosing that is changeable (the /usernames are not). However most twitter clients display one or the other. If you are used to seeing the display name and then are on your phone that is only showing @handle /username then you don’t know who is talking.

Facebook usernames is another example Twitter feature adoption by Facebook others being activity streams becoming much more like twitter streams.

I said when I first “got” twitter about 18 months ago – a big part of the value it provided was its namespace. It gave me a cool anchor on the web that allowed communication between me and others via the web.

So how is it going so far? Inside facebook reports that over the weekend 6 million folks – 3% of their userbase gut URLs. 500,000 in the first 15 min, 1,000,000 in the first hour and 3 million in the first 14 hours.

There were several examples of FaceSquating. Mike Pence took Obiefernadez’s name.

Anil Dash has the funniest post ever about the whole thing. Highlight the point that users don’t need facebook URL’s they can just get their own domain name. He repeats this throughout the post about what these services are not telling you:

None of these posts mention that you can also register a real domain name that you can own, instead of just having another URL on Facebook.

I completely agree with him – he also misses a key point the usability of facebook is vastly higher then the usability of domain name registration, cpanel management and other things involved in getting ones own personal web presence going. DiSo isn’t hear yet so we can’t link to our friends without linking capability that a facebook provides. I suppose Chi.mp was trying to

He links to a post of his from December 2002 called privacy and identity control.

I own my name. I am the first, and definitive, source of information on me.

One of the biggest benefits of that reality is that I now have control. The information I choose to reveal on my site sets the biggest boundaries for my privacy on the web. Granted, I’ll never have total control. But look at most people, especially novice Internet users, who are concerned with privacy. They’re fighting a losing battle, trying to prevent their personal information from being available on the web at all. If you recognize that it’s going to happen, your best bet is to choose how, when, and where it shows up.

That’s the future. Own your name. Buy the domain name, get yourself linked to, and put up a page. Make it a blank page, if you want. Fill it with disinformation or gibberish. Plug in other random people’s names into Googlism and paste their realities into your own. Or, just reveal the parts of your life that you feel represent you most effectively on the web. Publish things that advance your career or your love life or that document your travels around the world. But if you care about your privacy, and you care about your identity, take the steps to control it now.

In a few years, it won’t be as critical. There will be a reasonably trustworthy system of identity and authorship verification. Finding a person’s words and thoughts across different media and time periods will be relatively easy.

What people don’t quite get is that if they anchor their whole online life around someone else’s domain they are locked in. When I first started paying attention to user-centric identity online this was one of the meta-long term issues that the first identity commons folks (Drummond Reed, Fen Lebalm, Owen Davis, Andrew Nelson, Eugene Kim, Jim Fournier, Marc Le Maitre, Bill Barnhill, Nikolaj Nyholm, etc).

A few of them wrote a paper about it all – THE SOCIAL WEB – Creating an Open Social Network with XDI.

They liked the XRI/i-names architecture because it addressed the URL recycling problem with a layer of abstraction. All i-names also have linked to them a conical identifier – an i-number. This number is never reassigned in the global registry. However one could “sell” one’s i-name (mine is =kaliya) and that new person could use it but it would have a different i-number assigned to it for that person.

This past week at the Online Community Unconference we were talking about the issue of conversation tracking around blog conversations. How an one watch/track the conversation about one’s work if it is cross posted on 10 different sites OR if it is just posted in one place and one is distributing a link through 10 different channels? We never did get to an answer – I chimed in that the web was missing an abstraction layer – that if one could have a canonical identifier for a post that was up in 10 different places this would make it easier to track/see conversations about that post. What we do have now that we didn’t have 3 years ago for helping track conversations across multiple contexts is OpenID at least so you can see if someone commenting in one place is the same as someone commenting in another.

There is an additional layer of abstraction in the XRI architecture that supports several things are key to helping people integrate themselves and information about themselves on thew web.

One is cross referencing – so I could have have two different (URI) addresses for the same information (in the identifier – not just mapped over one another leaving me with one address OR the other) and also have one version of my profile be the one I controlled and a different be a version that appeared in a certain social context.

There is also a concept of much finer grained data addressability and control – so I could have my home address in one place and instead of entering this into each website/services/company portal that I want to have this information – just hand them a link to the canonical copy I manage and then I don’t have to change it everywhere. This is of course where the VRM folks are going with their architectures and services.

We shall see how it all evolves. That is what we do at the Internet Identity Workshop is keeping on working on figuring this all out.

SXSW – Hula Hut edition of Social Web TV

Lots has happened here at SXSW – The previous post is what i put up on my blog was what we posted on the screen during the OpenID – Oauth and the Enterprise session. hash tag #sxswid

The next session that afternoon in the same room on Open Spec development was very entertaining and I will be writing about it more this week. Hash tag #sxswos

Yesterday after the She’s Geeky Lunch I headed out to the Hula Hut for the OpenID lunch – I couldn’t help but noticing when I arrived that i was the only woman at the table :) – it is one of the reasons I gave my blog its name – because in 2005 after working in the user-centric identity field for a year of going to meetings with the guys working on it I was the only woman I ever saw at a meeting about the topic.

Following that I hung out on the deck of the Hula Hut and talked with Dave Morin, David Recordon, Chris Messina, Josh Elman, Joseph Smarr, John McCrae the Gowally guy and others who were in and out.

While there Josh and I started talking about one of the things I blogged about the Facebook post I did from Day one of SXSW.

I am not sure if Facebook understands that having people use their “Real Names” is not actually what creates authenticity – the issue has been on the web is not “who you are in real life” but the inability to have online persona’s that are persistent over time and context. The investment into these and the ability to have them be useful has not been solved until recently.

It was decided this would be a good topic for Social Web TV so we recorded it on the spot.

I also got to invite folks to the Internet Identity Workshop happening May 18-20th in Mountain View.

Am I to “old” to get Facebook? – or do they not get it?

I am at SXSW this morning. I just came from the session “Is Privacy Dead or Just Very Confused?” about the difference between private and public spheres and how they are contextual and social contract dependent. They talked about how strange facebook was for merging all ones contexts together (this is my own critique of it). This post was written while listening to Dave Morin talk about the future of the facebook platform “The Search for a More Social Web” (it was really a product plug) – As he oppened the talk he gave us a history of human communication that had the personal computer preceding the ARPA Net (clearly he would benefit from a visit to the Computer History Museum where we hold the Internet Identity Workshop twice a year). While listening I can’t help but keep wondering if I am just to “old”.

When I was in my first year of university at UC Berkeley the web was just beginning to diffuse to widespread use in that context. We had LAND LINES then. I spent $300 a month on long distance to talk to friends back home in canada. I was not “socially” connected via electronic media back then. Some people from my “old lives” have found me in facebook but I don’t feel “socially connected” to them in that I really don’t think they care about what I am “doing now on the web” and I don’t really have an ongoing social relationship with them so that i want to know “all” about what they are doing. They are NOT my “friends” but in facebook they “are”. I don’t want to be rude and unfriend them I am “interested” in their lives – like would be interested in hearing from them once every couple months but they are not in my social world.

I notice a real gap between myself and those 10 years younger then me who had facebook IN highschool and college – they love it cause it keeps them connected to their “friends”. I wonder about this cultural social time divide.

Today I am hearing facebook talk again about how they have people’s “real identities” with their “real names” and how important this is for authenticity. Dave Morin is going around convincing people to switch from their online personal handles in twitter to their “real” names. I thought about just being “Kaliya” in twitter but decided that my online twitter persona and voice would be that of my “professional” self – “IDENTITY WOMAN” I do talk about some personal things I do and mention opinions outside of “just my professional self” but it is not “me” there are ideas and opinions and things i do on the web that are not for everyone to see and I don’t share them in twitter. What I don’t like about facebook and the idea of facebook connect is that it feeds “everything you do” by default to “everyone you know” (within that system – they call these people “friends”). I want to present different selves to different audiences not because I want to “hide” but because I am connected to very diverse communities/friends and they all don’t want to hear about everything I am going everywhere it is to much “social noise.”

I am not sure if Facebook understands that having people use their “Real Names” is not actually what creates authenticity – the issue has been on the web is not “who you are in real life” but the inability to have online persona’s that are persistent over time and context. The investment into these and the ability to have them be useful has not been solved until recently. Bob (his blog is Cesi n’est pas un Bob – a reference to the Rene Magritte painting Ceni n’est pas une pipe/This is not a pipe) and the folks at the Burton Group have been talking about the possibility of people creating Limited Liability Persona’s to create persona’s on the web that are linked to “you” if something goes wrong but is not linked.

The audience of mostly young men in their 20’s and 30’s many of them “developers” on the facebook platform cheered all that was announced today by Dave Morin. I was left wondering and wrote this post as a response.

I am a member of the bridge generation – between the hyper connected young “digital natives” and the digital immigrants. (I was on BBS’s in Highschool (the local school board set one up just for kids within the city school system – that is where I hung out). My child hood home had a rotary telephone). while on vacation in Canada this summer I was struck by the conversations that I overheard by people older then me dabbling in facebook and being kind of freaked out by it. (In Canada Facebook has much higher penetration into the “general” population). The conversations I was having with highlevel leaders in the nonprofit and social business world at a retreat I was at about the dangers of building on closed silo’s like facebook was just beginning to dawn on them – they now understood. I am also a woman and the conversation we had at She’s Geeky regarding women and their presentation of self and identity online was really good. WE ARE DIFFERENT then dudes in their 20’s in San Francisco.

So I wonder… Am I to “old” to get Facebook? – or do they not get it? “it” being the needs of older people and the ability to control in more fine grained ways what people see about me. “it” being the needs of women in social space online.

We shall see.

Facebook joins OpenID Board

Facebook joins OpenID board – with commitment to improved user experience.

It is our hope that we can take the success of Facebook Connect and work together with the community to build easy-to-use, safe, open and secure distributed identity frameworks for use across the Web. As a next step in that effort, we will be hosting an OpenID Design Summit next week here at Facebook headquarters in Palo Alto.

I am not sure what to think about this. I had a post in the works called “facebook must be stopped” because if the NakedJen incident last week and the kicking off a developer who had to many friends. I am not convinced that Facebook isn’t the borg.

User expericne is a good thing to improve – however the containers in which people are using the technology – the companies that have the power over the networks, their policies and practices – their power to ‘be god’ in the spaces the host online that needs to be looked at too.

The power and potential of OpenID was that ANYONE with a domain name could use it – now it seems more and more like just the big “brands” silo’s are making it work for them and well maybe if you are a super hacker you could do your own (but we won’t “trust” you). I am worried that the movement seems to be moving away from empowering everyone with a blog or even those without “blogs” establishing their own node in the the network.

People need the power to have their OWN nodes on the network and link them together sharing information – on their terms (See bob Blakley’s relationship layer paper). If we are locked into proprietary silo’s they have to much control. I think a big vision needs to be painted and built to much faster a truly open social network framework. I hope we can have a way for developers to commit to a values based choice about how they will conduct themselves in terms of users having power and control over their own online lives – in relationship with other.

I have several critiques of facebook the ability to organize communities and groups is really aweful – (I just tried doing She’s Geeky with it – ended up messaging people up to 4 times – In She’s Geeky FB group, In event specific group, in my last years attendee e-mail list, in my signed up for this year e-mail list). The ability for me to manage my public yet different persona’s for different audiences is completely lacking (my kindergarten friends don’t care about my identity work, my identity friends don’t care that much about my facilitator work, my water polo friends might want an occasional personal update).

Maybe I am wrong – my fears will be unfounded. I am glad they are joining the conversation more explicitly.

From Naked Jen’s Blog:

Facebook obliterated Nakedjen.

Obliterated. Deleted. Made me disappear.

And they did it without any warning or even a simple email telling me that I had done something wrong.

My email to them asking what I might have done to cause such a brutal outcome was just met with an automatic reply telling me that I must be in violation of the TOS and to read it carefully.

Which I did. Every single word. Carefully. There is absolutely no term or stipulation that I even came close to violating other than that my name is Nakedjen. However, as I mentioned, that is MY name. And it has been my name on Facebook since day one. The email that I used for the service is even nakedjen@nakedjen.com Could I be more clear or obvious? I don’t think so.

What I also learned, while reading each and every word carefully, is that my account on Facebook is at will and can be terminated by Facebook at any time for any reason they deem “reasonable.” Basically, our accounts are being hosted for free on their servers. So this actually does make sense. If someone in their offices wakes up today and decides that the word Naked is pornographic or even just decides that my photo of Buddha wearing a ski cap is offensive, that person can just hit the delete button and bye bye Nakedjen.

From Scoble’s Blog:

OK, I’m on the phone with Joel Comm right now. He’s been doing business online since 1995. He’s the co-creator of Yahoo Games. He wrote the Adsense Code, which got onto New York Times best selling list. He hosted and produced the first Internet reality show called the Next Internet Millionaire. He was the guy who came up with iFart, which got to be the #1 iPhone app on the iTunes store for three weeks. He also has “Twitter Power,” a book about Twitter coming out next month. You can find Joel on Twitter here.

Translation: he’s not a “nobody” on the Internet who is a spammer.

But, Facebook had a problem with him and kicked him off. Just like Facebook did to me just about a year ago. Why did this happen?

Well, he like me, has 4,999 friends which is the maximum allowed by Facebook. That’s not what got him in trouble. “So, Scoble, why you writing about him?”

Here’s why: he has 900 people who want to be his friend on Facebook. So, since he can’t add them to his social graph he sends them an a nice individual note, customized each time. He would look at each person’s profile and send them a nice note. What did the notes say? Something like “nice seeing you at XYZ conference, I can’t add you as a friend because Facebook doesn’t let me add more than 4,999 friends so could you please join me over on my fan page?” Sometimes also he’d send them over to his book page, or his Twitter page. Again, he customized each message to the person who was asking. Nothing automatic.

But yesterday Facebook disabled his account and removed his account from the public social graph. “I am the invisible man.” Facebook did exactly the same thing to me a year ago.

You still can get to his fan page, but he can’t administer it any longer (he has 734 fans). He also has a group on Facebook, which has more than 2,000 members. Fifty people have already joined a group to petition to have Joel added back to Facebook.

The Facebook Borg are coming.

In case you are wondering about the Facebook’s intentions just read this from their developer blog:

Our goal is to help people share information and connect with the people they know all over the Web. Our strategy is to become the most effective way for every developer or publisher to spread their site and create engagement. Right now there are already more than a thousand sites using Connect, and by the end of the year that number should approach the number of Platform applications.

I think we have to think about how these things that people want with open standards across platforms.
* to connect to friends.
* to have relevant context (which facebook doesn’t have)
* to support community organizers (a post is coming on this soon how lame the whole situation with different people on different lists and duplicated all over the place – e-mails lists from this year, last year and facebook RSVP’s).
* to share things with others.

I do worry though – about the long term. ALL college kids are in this platform – to not be in it is social suicide. From the Daily Californian August 21-24, 2008 Everything you wanted to know about berkeley but were afraid to ask freshman issue.

So is an open mind the only thing you need for a good time at Cal? Nope. You need Facebook or else you’re a looser. Perhaps the best thing to ever happen to college, Facebook is the panacea for all social problems at Cal. Berkeley students are only as valuable as the number of Facebook friends and wall posts. People might dismiss Facebook as a petty distraction, but you can do some serious bonding over wall posts, tagged photos and profiles. I’m sure we’ve all had a friend ask “Oh my God! Did you see what she wrote on my wall?” I can honestly say Facebook has mad Cal more dynamic and exciting. So use Facebook…and use it a lot.

The Day of Connects – review of blog posts

So today Google Friend Connect and then Facebook Connect opened up their services today . Techcrunch is framing about dominance of internet identity.

The three horse race between Facebook, Google, and MySpace to achieve dominance in the internet identity space doesn’t appear to be letting up any.

What seems to be missing is the fact that Google and MySpace are implementing standards that are being developed in community and are open – meaning other players can play too.

Marc – long, long, long time advocate for open identity tools and systems on the web for people (he was talking about this at meetings I happen to run into him at in 2002-2003) does a good job of articulating the issues with facebook.

It’s all about about ‘Facebook across the Web’. Not about the Open Web.

ReadWriteWeb says this and

Open Source vs. Proprietary technology isn’t just about desktop software anymore – now it’s about our identities and social connections, all around the web.

has a nice little Mind Map comparing the two:

They invite people to edit it too.

This is interesting – Facbook is the “MAC” and Google is the “PC”
He likes Facebook because it has


I find it strange the people like it cause it has “real identity” I don’t want to use it because FACEBOOK mushes me all together – I do have different communities of friends and interests. I don’t think they all care or want to know everything I do on the web.

This blog user found installing Google Friend connect a lot easier.

This is an interesting frame from MySpaceFaceTube

If there were an OpenID for Dummies book, its publisher would be Facebook Connect….
The remaining advantage for OpenID is that it doesn’t tether users to one service – since so many companies are now identity providers, just about everyone already has an account somewhere they can use on sites that accept OpenID logins….

And, according to Facebook, early testing of Connect shows a 50 percent increase in engagement on websites that have implemented it.

John McCrae had a good post about the announcements calling it the Birthday of the Social Web.

He links to this CNET post

Sites will adopt Facebook Connect for two reasons. First, their users are already actively using it; millions of users have OpenID log-ins and don’t even know it. And second, because it’s not just a registration system, it’s that marketing channel.

I think this quote makes the point that it is TIME for all the major OpenID to educate the user-bases they have that have an OpenID and don’t know it that they have one and and how they can use it. Perhaps they can hire Common Craft to explain it In Plain English :)

One of the sessions at IIW that didn’t actually have notes submitted was about Activity feeds (in Session 8) – I think getting an open standard for these and enabling users with this functionality is part of what will make a viable open alternative to Facebook Connect.

XRD – which is a key component of the open stack made a lot of progress at IIW.

I am quite hopeful that openness will succeed and purpose of Identity Commons to support, facilitate, and promote the creation of an open identity layer for the Internet — one that maximizes control, convenience, and privacy for the individual while encouraging the development of healthy, interoperable communities, will be fulfilled.

Tech Crunch is suing Facebook (But it is an April Fools Joke)

Mike Arrington outlines the details of the suite against FaceBook for $25 million in Statutory Damages

He has his own brand:

I am a very important person. Forbes recently named me No. 2 on their list of web celebrities, for example, and Business Week says I’m one of the 25 most influential people on the web.

His image is being used to endorse things:

that allow advertisers to post ads using my picture and name to endorse their products without my explicit permission. I’ve received literally dozens of emails from readers asking me if I’m associated with Blockbuster’s Movie Clique application, or the new Jackass movie (no to both).

The Law they are suing under:

The key factor in determining whether a use is permitted or not in California (where I live) is Civil Code Section 3344, which was first enacted in 1971. California is perhaps more aggressive than any other state in protecting publicity rights because of the number of people engaged in the entertainment business. The law allows for recuperation of damages, attorney’s fees and injunctive relief, as well as unspecified punitive damages and statutory damages of $750/incident in the event a person’s “name, voice, signature, photograph, or likeness” is used “in any manner on or in products, merchandise, or goods, or for purposes of advertising or selling, or soliciting purchases of products, merchandise, goods or services, without such person’s prior consent.” There are additional common law remedies available to us as well.

They didn’t want to do this but…

I am sad that this had to blow up to the point where we are publicly suing Facebook over the matter. We’ll be filing the lawsuit tomorrow along with a related civil case for assault and battery and infliction of emotional distress. In a round of negotiations over the lawsuit with Facebook led by Chief Privacy Officer Chris Kelly, things got out of hand. When our team of lawyers offered to settle for a mere $50 million, Kelly told me Facebook would “bury you and bury your crappy blog” if we filed the suit. He then threw his steaming hot triple soy latte espresso at me, which caused extensive second degree burns over the top half of my body. Later on, he also unfriended me.

This lawsuit could be a major step forward for having clearer End User Licence Agreements along with establishing norms of use for people’s personal data on sites.

Porn Spam App infects Facebook and “no one” cares?

Mary Hodder has a post up titled: Trashing Our Social Relationships (with Porn) to Get Your Numbers Up. It is quite insightful about the issues that aries when investment is based on ‘numbers’ rather then qualities of relationship.

This situation expresses clearly the social ‘issues’ that arise with the ‘open identity layer’ or ‘social layer’ or meta-systems. The kinds of behavior enabled via the social graph being ‘traversable’. I hope that some reason can prevail and the acceptable norms can emerge soon.

I wonder how open standards for portable social network information will deal with these problems.

The Porn picture app this is what happens:

Nothing “happens.” Except that the message was forwarded to the one person I left checked. In other words. It’s trick porn spam, features courtesy of Facebook and Slide.

So I sent in complaints to both companies (neither have contacted me back after a month — guys, it’s a social network, you know how to reach me.. give it a try!!)

After a while, I called people in each company that I knew through the tech comany. And was appalled at the responses I got. Now, these are people I know socially, and they gave me the real answers, but with the expectation that I would not attribute to them. However, I am confident that their answers reflect the culture and real value sets within these companies.

Facebook pointed the finger at Slide (the app maker in this case), and said, “There is nothing we can do. We have no control over the apps people make or the stuff they send.” Oh, and if I wanted Facebook to change the rules for apps makers? I’d have to get say, 80k of my closest Facebook friends to sign on a petition or group, and then they might look at the way they have allowed porn spam to trick people into forwarding, but until then, there would be no feature review.

Slide said that they thought Facebook was the problem, because as the “governing” body, Facebook makes the rules and “Slide wouldn’t be competitive if they changed what they do, and their competitors weren’t forced to as well.” In other words, Slides competitors use the same features to get more users (or trick more users as the case may be) and Slide didn’t want to lose out on getting more users with similar features, regardless of the effect the features have on us and our relationships.

Also both companies told me that blogging doesn’t affect them, because they don’t read blogs. The only thing they pay attention to are Facebook groups. Because they don’t look at problems that a single person discovers.

So in other words, a person with a legitimate complaint needs to have massive agreement and numbers in a Facebook group before these companies will even discuss a problem.

And, Slide and Facebook are willing to trash our relationships (real relationships) in order to get more numbers.

Now, note that many of the folks who sent the various porn spam (not just the ones in the photos above) sent very apologetic notes, because they were mortified that they had send their contacts porn spam.

Think about that. Your social networking / application software tricks you into doing something terribly socially embarrassing and you have to apologize? Wo. That’s really messed up.

In other words, your social networking software / applications are, gasp, anti-social.

So I have to ask, if these young boys (Zuckerberg, the app makers in the class at Stanford, etc) are so clueless about relationships and social protocols, that they would build apps and a system that promotes bad behavior like this, where are their mentors? Where are their funders (who presumably have some input and sway into what’s going on)? Why aren’t Peter Thiel and Dave McClure or even Jeff Clavier (who sounded like he was trying to or has invested in some of the guys from the apps class at Stanford) advising these people that while they are experimenting, that these are real established relationships, and Facebook is now mainstream, and therefore the apps can’t do this to people? I mean, it seems logical (and has happened in cultures around the world for millennia) that older, wiser men would advise young, clueless hormone driven boys how to act in the community. And what of Max Levechin? I mean, he’s kind of in the middle, age wise, but shouldn’t he know better than this?

Is the desperation for fame and money so great, that people would simply eschew social concerns in favor of ratings which then equal higher company valuations, and more billions on paper? Or do you want your claim to fame to be: “At least 15 million minutes wasted” from your experiments on Facebook (as I would imagine the Stanford student described above could claim)?

I guess the answer is yes, and so my response is, I can’t trust Slide, or Facebook. Nor do I have respect for their founders if this is the way they handle themselves and their companies.


Well, I remember having a conversation … Facebook as a whole, and a lot of people in general, were persuaded by the argument that You don’t want to get into legislating moral behavior. And really, it’s bad enough in government, but its more than just odd to put that kind of responsibility in the hands of programmers, its a horrible nuisance for those people that just want to build web applications.

But now they are on the long slope after achieving market dominance … they have to go back and tune all this stuff. Since they didn’t sell the company, they might not have a conflict of interest in restricting and redesigning the ACLs.


Face Book and the Creepy Ex-CoWorker + Yahoo and PDF Adds!!!

Columnist Cory Doctorow describes how Facebook and other social networks have built-in self-destructs: They make it easy for you to be found by the people you’re looking to avoid.
…..ON Information Week

From SlashDot

A new channel (is being) opening up between advertisers and our eyeballs: PDFs with context-sensitive text ads. The service is called “Ads for Adobe PDF Powered by Yahoo” and it goes into public beta today. The “ad-enabled” PDFs are served off of Adobe’s servers. The article mentions viewing them in Acrobat or Reader but doesn’t mention what happens when a non-Adobe PDF reader is used.

To both of you I say…

Facebook SocialAd’s & Privacy

From Slashdot:

“Facebook recently announced a new advertising scheme called ‘Social Ads.’ Instead of using celebrities to hawk products, it will use pictures of Facebook users. Facebook might be entering into another privacy debacle. The site assumes that if people rate products highly or write good things about a product then they consent to being used in an advertisement for it. Facebook doesn’t understand that privacy amounts to much more than keeping secrets — it involves controlling accessibility to personal data. ‘The use of a person’s name or image in an advertisement without that person’s consent might constitute a violation of the appropriation of name or likeness tort. According to the Restatement (Second) of Torts 652C: “One who appropriates to his own use or benefit the name or likeness of another is subject to liability to the other for invasion of his privacy.”‘”

Identity and Face Book

I have been in facebook a while. Jordan Moncharmont who works at Facebook and is a student at Stanford invited me into the network after Ruby on Rails Camp. I just didn’t get it at all. What was the difference between a note, a message a wall message a poke? It just seemed silly to me but I knew it was all socially contextual and relevant to the kids using it. I ‘felt old’ because I didn’t understand the tools (now I know how ‘normal people feel’ I thought when I show them all my tools).

So a month ago at CFP (Computers Freedom and Privacy). I took the opportunity to meet up with some of the women that I was on the Canadian National Waterpolo Team with.
They were both on facebook – wow I thought this is going mainstream. Apparently the Ontario Government had to block access to Facebook for employees it was going that mainstream.

So two weeks ago I started getting all sorts of friend request from folks in the tech community. So I dove in. Shortly there after my best friend from Grade 4 and 5 found me. ‘Hey did you used to be Kaliya Young?’ she asked – “yes” (I changed my name on the system to my current full legal name Kaliya Young Hamlin so that all my friends from my life in school know it is me). I also wondered if my sister would have a profile…SHE DID! Something is really going on with this platform.

I invited lots of folks in my google address book cause I could easily. This included Dennis Hamilton.

Today, I received a Facebook friend invitation from Kaliya Hamlin, Identity Woman. Oh oh, this is getting serious. I’m honored and touched that Kaliya would invite me. I figure it is time to pay attention and see how Facebook might fit into our mutual interest in identity topics.

Well as a matter of fact it does.
There is the OpenID group
the Digital Identity Group and
the Identity Gang of Identity Commons.

So far I like most things about it. I like presence updates from people. It gives me a sense of what people are upto, thinking about etc. this is the same reason people like twitter (I am not on twitter cause 1) my phone doesn’t do outgoing txt. 2) I can’t figure out how to get it to work with my IM Client)

I like that they opened up to other developers. Many people are building interesting applications. I don’t like that only 6 of them can show in my side toolbar without me clicking on the ‘more’ button.

I enjoy sending messages because it makes the whole conversation with you and the other person threaded.
Dennis has some concerns. (however he just posted a presence message this morning so I know he is using it daily still).

It is a Silo. – sure but people can build all sorts of stuff on it.
What will be interesting to see is how groups move about cyberspace – none of us is loyal to any of these platforms more then gamers are loyal to ‘a game’ they are loyal to the social groups that they play with. Raph Koster pointed this out at Supernova. We are loyal to the groups we do work with and socialize.

My what if is – What to do about those people who asked to be your friends who you don’t want to be friends with? Or that you don’t know at all? I am not sure. They get stuck in friend request purgatory? This could use some improvement.

danah boyd has written an essay about class divisions emerging between different social networks and the use by young people.

The goodie two shoes, jocks, athletes, or other “good” kids are now going to Facebook. These kids tend to come from families who emphasize education and going to college. They are part of what we’d call hegemonic society. They are primarily white, but not exclusively. They are in honors classes, looking forward to the prom, and live in a world dictated by after school activities.

MySpace is still home for Latino/Hispanic teens, immigrant teens, “burnouts,” “alternative kids,” “art fags,” punks, emos, goths, gangstas, queer kids, and other kids who didn’t play into the dominant high school popularity paradigm. These are kids whose parents didn’t go to college, who are expected to get a job when they finish high school. Teens who are really into music or in a band are on MySpace. MySpace has most of the kids who are socially ostracized at school because they are geeks, freaks, or queers.

Class divisions in military use
A month ago, the military banned MySpace but not Facebook. This was a very interesting move because there’s a division, even in the military. Soldiers are on MySpace; officers are on Facebook. Facebook is extremely popular in the military, but it’s not the SNS of choice for 18-year old soldiers, a group that is primarily from poorer, less educated communities. They are using MySpace. The officers, many of whom have already received college training, are using Facebook. The military ban appears to replicate the class divisions that exist throughout the military. I can’t help but wonder if the reason for this goes beyond the purported concerns that those in the military are leaking information or spending too much time online or soaking up too much bandwidth with their MySpace usage.

The whole essay is very good. She writes at the end about her worries for teenagers today.

Digital Identity ‘performance’ by college kids

Danah Boyde has a great post about Face Book – (an online social network only for those how are in college.) This paragraph really stood out for me because it highlights the social phenomena that those of us who typically work in digitial identity do not really ‘do’ – DIGITAL IDENTITY PERFORMANCE…

The Facebook is situated in a culture with a set of known practices and needs, helping students make sense of their universe and constantly changing social networks. Even the issues around performative profiles are dampened because college students are so engrossed in digital identity performance as a process of figuring out who they are. Between MySpace and The Facebook, teens are now growing up assuming social network tools and building the value into them but most adults have no interest; herein lies another age division that will certainly affect the future of technology use.

She also wonders about how the practices emerging in these educational facebooks can perhaps be picked up by corporate ones to make them more effective.

Unfortunately, in the corporate culture, tools are being built to only reflect a fraction of the networking practices – they are poorly aligned and dreadfully unflexible. It’s funny though – every big company tends to have a facebook of sorts – reporting charts, roles, seat assignments. What if those could grow to indicate projects and past cooperations between colleagues? What if non-salesman could articulate their relationships to people in other companies rather than having them uncomfortably sussed out via email? What if social networking tools were built into the already existing corporate framework? What would it mean to make the corporate facebooks more useful?

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