Facebook: A Carnival Midway not a Neighborhood?
Oliver Marks wrote a very good post: Facebook: The Legal Rumblings Start Dec 17, 2009, on the Facebook's potential legal exposure due to its controversial changes to member privacy capabilities and settings.
With over 70 million folk apparently hooked on "social" games like Farmville, targeted ads that seem to belong on late night TV, and incredibly lame attempts to nag folk get their friends to use Facebook more (giving "viral" a new and flu like meaning), I see Facebook becoming a downscale carnival midway more than a neighborhood.
Originally I thought the equally lame and manipulative privacy changes would just contribute to the downmarket feel of the place.
But as you point out - EU privacy laws may land them in legal entanglements too.
Facebook is becoming a bad example rather than a good example for use of social software in the enterprise - or anywhere for that matter.
My point is that Facebook has every legal right to attempt to develop, market and monetize a site with whatever privacy and promotional rules it wants - and let customers vote with their feet.
Facebook seems to be floundering and flailing into the greedy vision of "a closed Internet with ads" that has been the graveyard of AOL, Friendster and others, see the Onion Video Internet Archaeologists Find Ruins of 'Friendster' Civilization.
I believe that the popularity of social sites on the public Web and the value of internally and externally facing Enterprise 2.
The Social Facebook Fiasco Oliver Marks, Dec 15, 2009.
Facebook's Privacy Move Violates Contract with Users Kaliya Hamlin, Dec 15, 2009.
Privacy groups file complaint with FTC over Facebook settings Larry Dignan, Dec 17, 2009.
Explaining Twitter - One of Three Places for People I decided to describe Twitter as one of three distinct places on the Web where I socialize every day: the public commons.
Clarity Amid the Hype What's different about enterprise Twitter? Most of this carries forward to consideration of What's different about enterprise Facebook?
Borders, Spaces, and Places How to model permissions and borders to enable collaboration where there's a natural expectation of privacy crossing many spaces - for example a law firms simultaneous collaboration with each its clients as well as internal groups.