Social Network Facebook is now even more serious on user’s privacy matter. Most importantly is their latest privacy control where Facebook users now able to control their profile whatever they want to visible to their friend list.

Last Wednesday, Facebook has released different types of privacy controls for their users and received significant amount of positive responds. Now users can create their profile in such a way where friends can view specific details in their own profile by using new privacy settings. On the other hand, users can keep their specific information by locking profile to their friends, friends of friends, or even particular individuals.

Matt Cohler, vice president for product management at Facebook, said it was seeking to evolve beyond the simple privacy controls originally aimed at relatively homogenous groups of college-age users. He also said,

“We have a lot more users, a lot more types of users, a lot more relationships; we have a lot more types of relationships”

However, the use of Facebook is growing very rapidly over the past year and a half. Two-thirds of its users are outside the United States, compared with about 10 percent 18 months ago, when most members were student age and in the United States. Facebook users now can select other types of strangers to view their profile. Facebook has designed privacy controls for college/university students where a university graduate student can create their profile just for other graduate students which just allow graduate students to view or access their profiles, along with staff and professors are not able to view their profiles.

But given the previous example, I was just wondering will it be work perfectly if a professor log in Facebook , and change his or her own status to an undergrad student. Suppose if someone change his/her status at university from professor/alumni to a graduate student. I think Facebook system will not restrict it to do this because Facebook does not have any verifying tools for that.

Finally, there is no doubt that it is a security flaw in Facebook’s according to the new privacy control policies. So I think it is not enough yet and too much to fix up in privacy matter. Especially, Facebook must focus on status control system. They should work on it to verified user’s status otherwise a graduate student will easily become a professor or a professor easily can change their status to a grad student.

–Romiz

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Sorry Mitch, I guess I’m going to be talking about the same thing as you. I had it half written when I noticed yours went up and I really don’t feel like choosing another topic and researching that one too. I guess if we have to write on the biggest news of the week there will be some overlapping anyway.

So the big news I’ve been hearing about is AOL’s purchase of the social networking website, Bebo. The price? $850,000,000. That’s a lot of zeros. Especially when AOL is slowly dying a painful and horrible *potential* death. I’ll go into a little more depth on both companies.

AOL (formerly America Online) was once mainly in the Internet Service Provider industry, with 30 million subscribers (down to 10.1 million as of Nov. 2007). Due to the dramatic decrease in dial-up (resulting in a decrease in their subscribers) the company has been trying to change their image to an Internet Content Provider rather than a service provider. As of February 2008, there was an announcement that AOL would split into two different sections: internet access and advertising. This is where the acquisition of Bebo comes in.

Bebo (Blog early, blog often) is a social media network (much like MySpace, Hi5, and Facebook) that has a substantial claim on the market. Although they aren’t quite as big as Facebook or MySpace in North America, it is extremely competitive in other countries, such as Britain and Ireland. It is actually the 66th most popular English-language website (MySpace = 5th, Facebook = 6th, Hi5 = 8th) according to Alexa Internet. *Sidenote: There are a few porn sites in the top 100, as well as Google having a bunch there too).

What makes this such a dangerous merger for other social networks is that AOL has the software that Bebo needs to grab top market share. AOL has the 10 million subscribers that could extremely benefit Bebo’s population, as well as the advertising software that Facebook has been struggling so much to make effective. With AOL’s AIM and ICQ potentially growing Bebo, and with Bebo a great site for mass advertising, this could be a great way for AOL to rebound and become one of the star online advertising companies.

A problem with this merger is that Yahoo runs the display advertising for Bebo in the UK and Ireland. If Microsoft is successful in the bid for Yahoo, what will be the outcome? Microsoft has put heavy support behind Facebook with their 1.6% purchase, so how can they justify a part of their company (if Yahoo is purchased) supporting the rival of their Facebook? Can Microsoft support two social networks?

Also, with Yahoo running the advertising display for Bebo, Google running the advertising of MySpace, and Microsoft running the advertising for Facebook, it makes the market pretty competitive. If Microsoft purchases Yahoo, then it gives Microsoft a great deal more advertising power, controlling both Facebook’s and Bebo’s advertising. Will this finally make Microsoft competitive with Google’s advertising power? I guess we will see in the coming months.

*UPDATE* Facebook has just announced that it will be having an instant message service built right into Facebook.  This is announced right after AOL has been talking about combining their AIM service to Bebo. *

Cheers,

David McKenna

As we all are aware, WordPress is a blog publishing website which we(Bus 442) are currently using to post our blogs. According to Erick Schonfeld of TechCrunch, Co-founder Matt Mullenweg of WordPress hinted that WordPress may be headed in a new social direction. Mullenweg stated that;

The world doesn’t need another social network, it needs a thousand networks that let you own your data and interconnect using open standards. We invest countless hour giving our data to networks like MySpace, essentially sharecropping on their land for the privilege of being able to connect to our friends. It’s our friends, our time, our connections, our data — it should be our software.

This is similar to the open platforms that have become very popular like Linux that is a free open source operating system that has become very popular and allows people to use, change, and improve the software. Social networks are an important cog in Web 2.0.Latest figures released by Compete show;

competefeb082.jpg

As shown in the above, some of the figures are astounding. Fubar one of the newest social networks has grown by 3 million % in one year. Can WordPress compete with heavyweight giants like Facebook and MySpace?  Facebook jumped from 60th to 7th in one year. In this new Web 2.0 age anything is possible. But would  an open source  social network really work. According to Erick Schonfeld of TechCrunch says;

It is easy to dismiss this as completely unnecessary given the abundance of social networks already out there, as well as application development platforms like OpenSocial. But an open-source social network does present some intriguing possibilities. New apps and features could be added simply by creating new plugins. And there would be no lock-in to any proprietary code or development environment.

With the success of Linux, I would only think that an open source social network would be just as successful.