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Facebook is a Little Shop of Horrors

25 Apr 2010


Audrey2's now infamous line "Feed me Seymore" is how I perceive the social information flow model of Facebook. I can't blame them, so far their strategy has worked brilliantly. Even as a stubborn proponent of closed data models, I see value in adding Facebook hooks to my pages. The pact is the chance for viral visibility in exchange for semantic relationship data sent back to Facebook. Look no further than the "Like" button in the sidebar to see how I feed Audrey2. My philosophy on closed systems has progressed. If we're all part of a closed system, then it comes down to a question of control which leads to government.

If a single corporate entity has majority control over the social web and information derived from it, it won't be long before it becomes a government regulated industry. The concerns for freedom of information, and individual rights will come into conflict with a business making those decisions. My hypothesis: the longer Facebook keeps it's information and social network sealed off from full portability, the more likely it is for government interference to end the autonomy of the Facebook corporation. Facebook won't be able to legally "kick out" citizens, because social information sharing will be on par with other government regulated utilities. The choices Facebook leadership makes now, will have long term ramifications for the neutrality of data on the web. I suspect it is in their best interest to make relationship and social data fully open and distributed as soon as possible to avoid heavy handed government interference. They may then continue to iterate on optimal social filters and competitive social tool development.

This is the type of trend that Digital Sky Technologies should be hyper sensitive to. If the US government begins regulating social web activities it could seriously hamper the growth of their massive investment in Facebook and other investments in that space.

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