Tag Archive: Facebook


Facebook may have won the social media battle, but what’s the prize?  Bob Cringely predicts a finite shelf-life for Facebook.

[W]hile Facebook is certainly a huge social, cultural, and business phenomenon, I just don’t see it being around for very long.

Facebook is a huge success. You can’t argue with 750 million users and growing. And I don’t see Google+ making a big dent in that.  .  .  .

Each era of computing seems to run for about a decade of total dominance by a given platform.  .  .  .

I give Facebook seven years or until 2014 to peak.

Does this feel wrong to you?  Listen to your gut and I think you’ll agree with me even if we don’t exactly know why.

I’m inclined to agree with him on some level, but I think it’s more of the finite shelf life of the “walled garden.”  Eric Raymond discusses an alternate universe of no Internet as a “world of walled gardens:”

Welcome to a world of walled gardens. Your digital universe is a collection of competing fiefdoms run by CompuServe, AOL, Genie, and later entrants that came into the fray as demand rose, many of them run by big media companies. Each network has its own protocols, its own addressing conventions, and its own rigidly proprietary access software. You get the services they choose to offer and that’s it – there’s no end-to-end, no access to the bitstream.

You can only do the equivalent of email and instant-messaging with people on the same provider you are using. Inter-provider gateways are buggy and often nonexistent – some providers think they add attractiveness to potential customers, others think they can shoulder smaller networks aside by making them relatively inaccessible.

Facebook, like old AOL, lets you leave, and has some interoperability with its instant messaging platforms, but it’s effectively closed.  The Facebook e-mail system is closed to Facebook, and its IM is not entirely open either.  It has an API to allow other software to work with it, but it controls the ecosystem.

Facebook is smart and will probably learn lessons from AOL’s failures, but its hard to see what it can do beyond a certain point.  I think I agree with Bob Cringely, even if I don’t know why.

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A Juror in a UK drugs trial decided to communicate with the defendant, who was later acquitted.  Now the 40-year-old, mother of three faces up to two years in prison for contempt of court.

Malicious software on Facebook is an increasing problem.  (I’ve written about them here and here).  Recently, Facebook has come up with two different and complementary security measures to fight back against these viruses, worms, malware, and other scams.

First, Facebook has teamed up with Web of Trust to try to identify “risky” links.  By warning users of potentially malicious sites and applications, Facebook hopes to reduce the amount of malicious software running on its system.

Secondly, Facebook has implemented a text message login approval as an opt-in security measure.  If a user tries to login to Facebook from a new computer or device, the system sends a code via SMS to the user to verify the new computer or device. This should reduce the amount of unauthorized users accessing Facebook and legitimate users’ data and slow the propagating of viruses.

Attached are the term paper and the presentation slides for Sustainable Energy at Rutgers.

Sustainable Energy Paper

Slides

Facebook Virus Alert

It appears that my report of recent Facebook viruses is only part of an increasing trend.

The new Facebook viruses use Facebook applications to spread themselves, and spread using a victim’s friend list.  In addition to the photo tagging pretense I identified, these attacks use the pretense of surveys and “liking” a video or image.

As always, the best defense against these attacks is vigilance.

The End of MySpace?

Not the final nail in the coffin, but not a good sign either.  Today Zynga, which makes games for social networks has discontinued support for Mafia Wars on MySpace.  It continues to support Mafia Wars and other games on Facebook.

In the Facebook/MySpace War, there is a clear winner.  It will have to be the subject of a future post, but it was not long ago that this outcome was unclear.

New Facebook Virus

There appears to be a new Facebook virus out there.

I’ve received e-mails from Facebook claiming that I have been tagged in a photo album.  The albums have been titled “Who Views Your Profile” and “Profile Stalkers”.  The links are to install a Facebook app, which presumably propagates itself by sending similar messages.

Some quick searching shows that it may be a new version of the “Koobface” virus that first sprouted in December 2008.  Don’t click on the links, don’t install the Facebook app, and don’t download any files from it.

Recently, Facebook opened up its server design.

Both Google and Facebook as competitors in the same industry: advertising.

Strictly speaking, they don’t compete in the hardware arena.

Google’s actions indicate that it believes that its hardware designs give it an advantage in the processing and delivery of advertising.  Keeping these designs a trade secret is to its advantage.  (It is worth noting that they do share some details of its designs.)

In contrast, Facebook believes that using an Open Source philosophy for its hardware gives it an advantage.  Facebook will now be able to receive input from outside designers and take advantage of economies of scale as their designs are produced for more customers.

Jon Stoke’s analysis at Ars Technica is correct in that Facebook “doesn’t have to beat Google to win. Rather, the move will be a success if it only serves to shrink some of Google’s relative advantage. Anything that lets Facebook become more competitive by eliminating some of Google’s advantage in delivering ads cheaply will be a success.”

Ultimately Google and Facebook are both acting as rational profit-seekers, though they have chosen different strategies.

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