The saga continues of the very sudden change in sentiment towards two iconic Web 2.0 companies. This time it is a very cogent criticism of Facebook.
The question really is whether the recent concerns expressed about these firms will have any impact on their businesses. Google would appear to be quite safe in their three major applications - search, maps and gmail.* But their more innovative ventures, like buzz and streetview, re-creating concerns about privacy and are creating concerns about their corporate attitude.
The concerns about Facebook are more general, but the sets of complaints made by Renai Le May in his article are not just about privacy, they are also about the relationship of the individual to the corporation. It is not really a sufficent defence for Facebook to say it is a commercial concern responding to customrs. The structure of social networking sites means the thig economists call a "network externality" has an incredible effect. As an individual user the attraction of Facebook is the number of other users who are there.
I suggested to a colleague the other day that maybe the market is ready for a new social networking site, just as Facebook replaced MySpace. The response was that users don't care enough about their privacy concerns.
Here is a challenge. Is there anyone out there who wants to bite the bullet and decide we should build a new social networking site, that we should design it to be "multi-domestic" (that is be responsive to all the national markets), to have a better approach to privacy and assistance with law enforcement. It would be an interesting anyti-trust action to try to force chat and networking "interconnection" with Facebook.
*Note: This blog is run in Blogger which is a gmail property. When I get time I'm going to learn Drupal and redo my website and host my own blog. I don't particularly need all the widgets now offered on Blogger and most that are of any use are easy to implement in Drupal.