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Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Are you really sorry, Facebook..?

Mark Zuckerberg says something like this on the Beacon Fiasco in his Facebook blog. The only sentence that conveyed something close to remorse in that smallest font, full-page piece is “I'm not proud of the way we've handled this situation and I know we can do better”. Does that sound like an apology to you…? Not really.

To me it sounded like the tone of someone big who never thought he would get caught. Yet here he is, caught with his fingers in the "Big Brother" jar. May be Mark thought it's okay to break the law until it's discovered, then just haul out PR people until it all blows over – in doing that, he's only following the other moghuls that went down that road before him. They are made of sterner stuff. Even after they get caught, the instinct is to spin and fudge and brazen it out. No wonder Microsoft has partnered with them and got straight into business – of infecting them with its wild ways. It's a match made in heaven. These guys are a bit like Google too, only their slogan isn't "Don't be evil" -- it's "Don't get caught."

Business models are known to align the enterprise interests with those of its customers. The happier customers are, the more money they make. Facebook's business model is the opposite. It pits Facebook against its customers. The amount of money that Facebook can make is defined (and constrained) by the degree to which its users will allow themselves to be exploited.

But how different is Facebook from other big players? Not much. Is it any different from Google handing over search data to China, or Microsoft crushing opposing browsers beneath its heels, or Du Pont denying that CFCs destroy the ozone layer, etc.?

"If Facebook is so ass, why not just stop using it?" I ask the world. I am not expecting candid answers though....

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