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Facebook, Privacy, Mo' Money, Maka Maka

By - October 29, 2007

You go away for a few days, and what happens.

– A Facebook privacy kerfuffle (I asked folks at Facebook about this, the response: Facebook respects user privacy and access to site usage and profile information is restricted at the company. Any Facebook employees found to be engaged in improper access to user data will be disciplined or terminated).

– More rumors of an impending Google counterstrike, code named Maka Maka.

– Yet more rumors that two hedge funds have matched Microsoft’s $15bb valuation and tossed another $500mm into Facebook’s coffers.

What to make of all this?

Well, first, the privacy issues is a very real one for Facebook, because, well, it’s the heart of how the company intends to make good on that $15bb valuation. Knowing a lot about its users is key to the Facebook answer to AdWords. For more insight on what I’m on about, read about how Facebook chooses newsfeed items. It’s quite revealing (right down to the idea of News Feed Optimization). In short, Facebook can’t afford to have the privacy issue go sideways right now.

And speaking of affording, all that new money will come in handy for M&A. It has to, because now that the bar is set at $15bb, I’m guessing entreprenuers who might have otherwise been interested in selling to Facebook for stock might reconsider the upside given such a lofty pre-IPO valuation. Facebook still has a lot to prove, and cash is still king.


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4 thoughts on “Facebook, Privacy, Mo' Money, Maka Maka

  1. coxy says:

    I don’t know, I know a few staff at numerous social networking sites and they all have full access to material that people post – I thought it was standard practise for an admin to be able to see the content of their site – how else are they expected to administrate the site?

    It’s also common for someone to stumble across something amid the administration process that’s too funny not to share with fellow colleagues – but I can’t see anyone setting out with a primary objective to ‘check the data for fun’. Also, I think so long as the employees themselves adhere to a company-wide privacy policy toward user data – that’s fine.

    At the end of the day, the content on the site is user-submitted. If you don’t want anyone to view specific info about yourself, don’t post it online (even if it’s set to private).

    As for Facebook staff being able to check which users are viewing which profiles and how often – services like MyBlogLog, HitsLink and Google Analytics offer this as part of their service. It’s not a bad thing that Facebook have their own stats, it just allows the site admins to see what’s going on throughout their site.

    All this seems quite a meaningless attempt to stir some shit against Facebook.

  2. JG says:

    From the techcrunch link above: “All eyes will be on Google, but don’t expect anything too earth-shattering straight out of the gate. Many of these apps will be copycats of what is already available on Facebook (just as the very first apps on Facebook were ported over from other parts of the Web). This first go-round, Google will just be trying to match Facebook’s ante.”

    The new Google strategy: Embrace and extend?

  3. nmw says:

    NFO this: presence, baby, presence (i.e.: location, location, location… ;)

  4. Tod Whipple says:

    Tell me about it…I just barely got done posting the Microsoft deal and Maka, Maka (anything to sound web 2.0 cool these days) emerges on the forefront. I have just been contemplating the privacy quagmire Facebook currently is in. Google itself will have to respect and try to tame the privacy beast with a totally 100% open API accessing other social networks and web services. When Maka, Maka starts matching targeted advertising to a totally open third party system that will get sticky in a hurry. Awesome…but sticky.