I’ve said my peace on the Facebook Privacy Fiasco of May 2010 (tune in next month for the Facebook Privacy Fiasco of June 2010 featuring many of the same characters and all of the vitriol of previous fiasco editions).
If you’re not aware of the specifics of this month’s outrage, it comes down to this – the media and a bunch of very loud, angry and poorly dressed users are shouting “burn her, she’s a witch!” I’m playing the part of the guy in the armor with the impeccable logic trying to calm down the mob:
All this privacy distraction has caused Facebook to pull way back on their shakedown of the social gaming publishers, the other Facebook story going on right now. One thing is certain, in the very short term Facebook has been weakened.
The game publishers will use it to extract better terms from Facebook. But there is a far bigger opportunity for a hungry competitor to get a lot of attention and possibly turn things around for themselves.
MySpace, the once great social network that still has scores of millions of active users, should be reworking their policies and products at a feverish pace to provide the perception of giving users fair and easy to use privacy controls along with a promise never to change those controls without their express permission. YOUR DATA IS SAFE WITH US is how the messaging would read. They’d announce that along with some extremely well known privacy advocate joining the company’s exec team, and pair it with a promise to have an outside firm review their privacy policies and execution regularly.
A lot of these and other ideas were thrown out there by Robert Scoble earlier today. Facebook isn’t going to do any of them. But heck, MySpace has absolutely nothing to lose. Why not make a firm decision to be the “safe, secure” online social network. It might just get them in the game again.
That’s what I’d do if I were one of the co-presidents of MySpace (we’d be tri-presidents then, a virtual gaggle of presidents). It’s all laid out for you clean and nice. Make the announcements at a huge press event, hire the people and the outside auditor, and then work like crazy to make MySpace a reasonably presentable site to hang out on. Something that doesn’t scream “trailer park.”
I mean, if these guys come out of nowhere and are conducting a very successful grass roots anti-Facebook campaign, why not MySpace?
I can’t deal with a mob trying to take Zuckerberg down for some ridiculous out of context instant messages six years ago. But I’m all for good, clean, slightly devious competition. The floodgates are open, MySpace. Prove you have something left to fight with.