I had a middle school flashback on Tuesday. My best friend Jennifer passed me a note after gym class letting me know that Facebook was two faced. Surely, it was just a rumor, however, on February 4' 2009 this turned out to be one of those rogue middle school truths. Presenting themselves as the paradigm for safe on-line networking, Facebook, the most popular social networking site is a tour-de-force connecting people of all ages and all corners of the globe.
It was brought to user attention that Facebook now claimed free reign and perpetual license over anything and everything a user ever posted in the history of their account, with the added bonus of being locked into an account until the end of time. Did I mention that they told no one? So not only are they going to make money off of your nephew's birthday photos and your sister's catchy slogan, status updates but they will continue to draw upon this personal data base long after you "deactivate your account." Facebook is the requisite idea stealer – we're all familiar with them.
Looks like old habits die hard or never in this case for Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook Founder). Zuckerberg was sued in 2004 and again in 2008 for stealing the business plans of ConnectU – a social networking application that was founded at Harvard University in 2002. Turns out Zuckerberg worked as a programmer for the up and coming site only to hitch his wagon to their cash camel. Word is in the cyber grapevine that the settlement was for $65 million in cash and stock. He certainly knows how to expand his enterprise – by stealing from the devoted 40 million users in the United States alone.
It was clear that Zuckerberg and his team made an error in judgment based on the cyber coup that followed when the news went public. The team, including its 'founder' made a public statement on February 18' 2009 that they were reverting back to their old policy, which most probably weren't familiar with in the first place.
Needless to say, the damage has been done. People (myself included) continue to take down amateur photos, posts, notes and music that have been uploaded to this so-called safe sharing site in response to this total breach of privacy and two-faced behavior. So, what have we learned from this?
Well, that at times there may be at least a kernel of truth to those cafeteria whispers, never share anything with Facebook and stay true to those few kindred spirits out there like InternetDJ, a site that promises never to act like that fickle, middle school love we all remember.