Parker Pooh-Poohs Facebook Privacy Panic

Facebook billionaire Sean Parker says data overload is a bigger problem for the site’s users than the much talked-about privacy issues. He also acknowledges Facebook is losing “power users” to Google+, but doubts this poses a serious long-term threat.

Parker, who co-founded Napster and is best known in the mainstream for being portrayed by Justin Timberlake in The Social Network, was speaking at the Web 2.0 Summit event in San Francisco, said “I don’t think privacy is an issue. That may be controversial, but I don’t think that’s Facebook’s biggest problem.”

Instead he believes the problem involved those users who contribute the most content and network the most widely. Parkers believes such users now feel a lack of control simply because they have so much data to deal with when trying to control what information they see and how they share it. He pointed to Facebook’s recent enhancements to make it easier to share with specified users only, seen by many as a take-off of the Circles feature on Google+, as a way of addressing this.

Discussing the prospect of Google+ taking Facebook’s crown, Parker acknowledged it was a possibility, simply because Facebook had done the same thing to MySpace when that seemed unlikely. But he noted that for this to happen “Facebook would have to screw up royally and Google would have to do something really smart.”

According to Parker, that’s simply because the power of the network effect means that for many individual users, making a switch isn’t worthwhile unless both their friends and even friends-of-friends also make the jump.

(That’s a very valid point, and I’d say far more powerful than the situation with MySpace and Facebook. While MySpace had a huge user base, it was largely people of a similar demographic. Facebook appeals to a wider range of people, making a stronger set of network chains.)

Parker also discussed the integration of Facebook and Spotify, saying the latter was an attempt to finish the “dream of frictionless-free, tiered service that enables music sharing” which Napster began. He believes the partnership could make it possible for bands to breakout purely through word of mouth even without the support of traditional media.

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5 Responses to Parker Pooh-Poohs Facebook Privacy Panic

  1. Yeah, go ahead…keep a blind eye on that, will ya? I used to be on Facebook, but I deleted my account and went to Google + where I can have options set to what I WANT and what I WANT to see, not what some site TELLS ME I HAVE TO SEE. Pretty soon, Facebook, all your users will be ignorant 12 yr olds and other conformists who's brain matter has been turned to oatmeal by your rhetoric. I for one think for myself and will not be led. All the smart people are choosing Google +…deal with it.

    • Oops…"whose", not "who's….passionate writing makes me forget my spelling and grammar at times. Brain moving faster than the fingers and all that :-)

      • I question if you realize that with Facebook you can limit what you see, how you see it, and when you see it. Especially if you get Chrome extensions like AdBlock+ which hide the side ads and such. Google+ does this automatically sure, but that's because G+ is more of a side project for Google, an experiment of sorts.

        • Well, their "experiment" is going to be a lesson to Facebook that the masses don't want to be controlled. I know all about what you CAN do with Facebook, but what THEY can do is a little more daunting as far as privacy issues and changing the way the feed functions to however THEY want it, with no regard to their followers wishes. No sir, buddy…I'm moving on. Facebook and their leadership has become overbearing and pompous…time to take them down a peg. Google + for me!

  2. The only problem I have with Facebook is the same problem I had with Myspace, and that is the addition of applications.

    It's a social network site, not goddamn Newgrounds.com. If I want to play shitty flash games, I don't need to go to Facebook to play them, nor get plagued with half a million notifications whenever someone adds a new app that I haven't managed to block yet.

    I have both a G+ and Facebook, and use G+ for my more discussion-based threads and comments. Facebook, I just use to connect and see what people are up to. Maybe bitch and rant a little about life, etc.

    Overall though, I'm starting to feel that G+ > Facebook, simply for ease of use and cleanliness.

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