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Dealing With the Eventual Collapse of Social Networks

Unknown Lamer posted about 2 years ago | from the when-in-doubt-legislate dept.

Social Networks 370

taskforce writes "There are good reasons to think web services like Facebook won't be around forever. If Facebook ever were to go down there would be potentially huge costs to its users. We can all take individual steps to protect our data and social network, but is there anything we can do to our economy to mitigate the costs of the failure of these services? The Red Rock looks at the role open source, open standards, consumer cooperatives, and enterprise reform can play. The author concludes that all is not lost, and that there's a lot we can do to reduce both the cost and frequency of failure." His suggestions are pretty radical: "The first is draw up an Open Data Bill and pass it into law. This would (where applicable) mandate the use of open standards by firms, and also mandate that all data held about a user is downloadable by that user, in an open standard. ... The second is to reform the corporate structure of larger companies to include some directors elected by consumers, rather than just shareholders. Not all the directors, like in the Cooperative Group, and not even a majority, but just a small portion of the board — say one third."

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370 comments

backup your date to multisources (5, Insightful)

Nyder (754090) | about 2 years ago | (#39923843)

You should treat every website like it might not be around forever.

If you store your photo's on facebook and don't have backups if it elsewhere, then you deserve what you get, if Facebook closes down.

Nice idea to have an "Open Standard" to get our data, but I don't see this happening.

Re:backup your date to multisources (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39923903)

Photos? My photos are on my hard drive.
I think what people are worried about is all the trinkets they've racked up in those social games.

Re:backup your date to multisources (-1, Troll)

TheistOfDrippin'ness (2633985) | about 2 years ago | (#39924027)

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It can't be.
That simply cannot be probable.
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Could it be... that they're Gamemakerless ultimatum supremacies?
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Re:backup your date to multisources (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39924075)

Mr. / Ms. Gamemaker spammer :

Have you decided to make a career of being a piece of shit ?

If so you are off to a good start.

What if they sell it? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39924149)

If Facebook goes the way Myspace is heading, then the biggest risk is they'll sell your every private data to ChoicePoint, the NSA, and everyone else who fancies taking a look. They can't commercialize it now because people would leave the site, (at least not openly, but if those wiretap memos going around are true, secretly they already are). But once the company has no future and can openly piss off its users, then it becomes not problem selling that to every data mining company out there.

Re:backup your date to multisources (4, Insightful)

Nursie (632944) | about 2 years ago | (#39924263)

I would go as far as to say that if there's anything you consider to be of value on facebook, then you're doing it wrong.

It's just idle conversation and the odd photograph that you probably already have somewhere else, isn't it?

Re:backup your date to multisources (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39924547)

Open standards, in the form of self-describing data (NetCDF, HDF5, and to a lesser-degree XML) and data portability mechanisms (OPeNDAP, for example) already exist. Metadata for describing how data elements relate also exists (OWL2 is a start in the right direction) along with a means of applying that metadata to the data (SPARQL, although I must admit it's very primitive).

So all the pieces you actually -need- are all there, though they don't yet play nice (you can't apply OWL2 ontologies to HDF5 files, for example). Nothing needs to be invented. Refined, definitely, but not invented. We have all the wheels we need, even if some of them are... well... square. Stops them rolling downhill, I suppose. What we need is for these to be fitted together into something useful, and for the resultant framework to be accepted.

Hmmm.

Yeah, we're doomed.

Friend-face (5, Insightful)

Orne (144925) | about 2 years ago | (#39923847)

Somehow Facebook is too big to fail, but MySpace can flitter off into the night without people caring? When we finally approach the end of the natural life of Facebook, people will transition into whatever the next big social media gathering site will be, little by little until Site A is empty and Site B is the new hot stuff. It's not going to happen overnight, no "rush to the exit", and definitely no need to legislate a "fix".

Re:Friend-face (4, Insightful)

mlts (1038732) | about 2 years ago | (#39923939)

Purely IMHO of course, but what does FB have that I would go screaming in the night if I lost?

Pictures? Got backups of those.

Meeting times and events? People can find another place for that. iCloud is free and has a good calendar function.

Meeting forums? Plenty of places for that, be it G+, Web forums, Yahoo groups, or maybe even having one's own website.

Watching what friends do on a site that isn't horrid on the eyeballs? G+ is stiff competition, and worst case, there is always firing up a website and a blog.

Random comments? Twitter is there.

Private messages? Yahoo chat, AIM, ICQ, and other chats are still out there. Barring that, there is always E-mail.

FB apps? I don't play them, so am not a judge, but I'm sure some large website, somewhere would happily create an API in order for a company like Zynga to slurp up dollars in micropayments.

What FB provides is just one single contact point. If it vanished tomorrow, people would just go back to what they used in the past, or perhaps just patronize Google+, which offers almost everything that FB does, coupled with a music store, storage space, E-mail, and apps.

Re:Friend-face (3, Informative)

solanum (80810) | about 2 years ago | (#39923987)

Indeed, and I have to say, I can't really see that the economic effect would be that great either (impact on any dot.com 2.0 bubble aside). If Facebook disappeared tomorrow, just how would that have any large effect on the economy? Even Zynga isn't totally relying on Facebook and nobody has shops that only operate through Facebook either to the best of my knowledge.

Re:Friend-face (-1, Troll)

TheistOfDrippin'ness (2633985) | about 2 years ago | (#39924197)

Return. Return. Return. Return. Return. Return! Return! Return!

Use Gamemaker. Gamemaker.'s the best. There's no reason not to use Gamemaker. Gamemaker can do anything. Gamemaker is capable of making your dreams come true. Your life is pointless if you don't use Gamemaker. Return to Gamemakerdom right this minuteness!

Re:Friend-face (2, Interesting)

TubeSteak (669689) | about 2 years ago | (#39924475)

Indeed, and I have to say, I can't really see that the economic effect would be that great either (impact on any dot.com 2.0 bubble aside). If Facebook disappeared tomorrow, just how would that have any large effect on the economy?

Facebook wouldn't disappear and neither would your data.
Their assets (your information) would get sold to someone, who would data mine it, and then advertise to you in ways that Facebook couldn't without losing the public trust.

Re:Friend-face (1)

qu33ksilver (2567983) | about 2 years ago | (#39924253)

What if slashdot goes down? Then you won't be able to tell this to your fellow mates.. Oh the horror.. the horror..

Re:Friend-face (2)

networkBoy (774728) | about 2 years ago | (#39924419)

/. would be a much bigger loss than FB IMHO...

Especially if you consider that losing /. likely means FSDN, thus things like freshmeat and such as well.
-nB

Re:Friend-face (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39924587)

s/Freshmeat/Freecode/

Fixed it for you. The name change was quite some time ago (at least measured in internet time), so if you didn't know about it, I wonder if you really would miss if the site went away... :-)

Re:Friend-face (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | about 2 years ago | (#39924471)

What do any social sites have? Who puts valuable data there? If it vanished tomorrow the worst that would happen is that people get more stuff done at work.

Re:Friend-face (1, Insightful)

grantspassalan (2531078) | about 2 years ago | (#39924007)

Why is it that there are an increasing number of people, who think that government can fix anything and everything I just making another law by which to control our lives? It seems that the more laws that legislatures of all jurisdictions make, the more lawless our society becomes.

Re:Friend-face (3, Insightful)

simoncpu was here (1601629) | about 2 years ago | (#39924169)

Personal responsibility is hard; it's easier to give up our rights in exchange for protection and favors from the government.

Re:Friend-face (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39924473)

Personal responsibility takes too much time; it's easier to give up some flexibility in exchange for protection and mutual responsibility from the government, instead of living in complete anarchy with every single company stabbing you in the back for a few pennies.

FTFY. Balance is the answer, of course- laws can fix a lot of things for the vast majority of the cases. For the exceptions, we have judges, common sense and personal responsibility. People do so much these days that personal responsibility for everything would be a full-time job, which simply isn't feasible.

Re:Friend-face (3, Insightful)

dwye (1127395) | about 2 years ago | (#39924507)

Personal responsibility is hard; it's easier to give up our rights in exchange for protection and favors from the government.

Especially because the people proposing something always want to give up someone ELSE'S rights, not their own. Of course, when two different groups want the opposite group's rights curtailed in opposing fashion...

Re:Friend-face (5, Insightful)

rueger (210566) | about 2 years ago | (#39924183)

Hate to break it to you, but you - yes YOU grantspassalan - rely on those "laws" every single day. You know, the ones that don't allow your nieghbour to start a lead smelter beside your house, the ones that try to ensure that your drinking water is safe, the ones try to keep your kids from being enlisted by child pornographers.

Or do you mean those crazy ass regulations that say that household current should be 110v AC, gasoline should have a reliable octane level, and your bottle of Tylenol shouldn't include arsenic?

Or do you mean that crazy ass court system that tries and convicts criminals, and that allows you to defend the ownership of your property and ideas, and to defend your reputation from libel?

And yeah, government does have a role in regulating corporations specifically because we've seen time and time again that corporations will not act in the best interests of society as whole, will screw over their customers and clients, and will do pretty nasty stuff someone isn't watching over their shoulder.

Re:Friend-face (1)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | about 2 years ago | (#39924305)

I don't think grantspassalan's rhetorical troll would cite any of the laws you mentioned. Clearly he was referring only to the stupid ones, but I really don't feel like feeding your straw man troll tonight. Feed him yourself, if trolls eat anything that you can legally feed them.

Re:Friend-face (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39924527)

You really think it's reasonable to have a "board member" elected by the consumer to keep his interests at heart? It's called don't buy their fucking product if you don't like the shit they pull. Sometimes it means you have to go without aforementioned really cool product. The problem here is, no one wants to do that. Instead, they want to have their cake and eat it to, ie keep using facebook (it's really cool and everyone is doing it), but force facebook to bend to their will. Why wasn't the article about proposing an open data store for facebook type data, and then talk about building an open source startup facebook like site around that? Maybe even with some distributed git type cloning features, so your "social network" would be easily shared/replicated between apps/backed up (instead of hosted behind that evil service)? Oh ya, I know - because it's a pile of FUD with a helping of chicken little sky is falling bullshit.

Also we're not in debate class right now, so grow up. Not everyone has time to sit around and do research for a slashdot post (again, not debate). Screaming pics or it didn't happen every time gets old. By the way - I'm not entirely sure that granstpassalan meant that all laws universally are stupid, but no you are right, murder and a government mandated social networking data store are definitely on the same playing field, totally the same thing.

Re:Friend-face (4, Informative)

samkass (174571) | about 2 years ago | (#39924031)

Besides, Facebook has allowed you to download all your data in XML format for years from the bottom of the "account settings" window. Google later added that feature to Google+ as well. So it's not really a technology problem... of the people who actually care about any of that data, you're never going to get more than a tiny fraction of the people to actually download it and back it up properly.

What's a Facebook "user", anyway? (4, Insightful)

billstewart (78916) | about 2 years ago | (#39924229)

When you're talking about "users" are you talking about the content producers / eyeballs - the little people whose social networks are expressed in Facebook and who've invested thousands of hours in Farmville and Mafia Wars? Or are they and their social networks "the products", and "the users" are the advertisers who sell things to those people? I can see how the advertisers might lose lots of money if Facebook content producers get bored or annoyed and go somewhere else, or do something else.

But for one of the little people, I don't see how there's a "potentially huge cost" to them if they get bored and leave. Ideally, they'd like to back up the contact information for their actual friends, and for some of their other Facebook friends, and back up their photographs, but if they've gotten bored and left that's an indication that the value they're losing is near-zero. If they get mad at an obnoxious Facebook policy and leave, there's some positive value that they're losing that's balanced by the negative that's chasing them out, but it's still their call. There's a "potentially huge cost" to Facebook if their content producers and eyeballs wander off, because they've got less product to sell to advertisers, but that's a problem for Zuck and the stockholders, not for the people who left.

I have a better way (1, Insightful)

Osgeld (1900440) | about 2 years ago | (#39923851)

don't upload everything to a "service" without having a backup, if it really means anything to you...

You created your data inside the service (4, Insightful)

billstewart (78916) | about 2 years ago | (#39924163)

The problem with your suggestion is that often the data you want to preserve was created or discovered within the service, not externally. For instance, your Facebook friends lists, and the messages you've exchanged with people on Facebook, were probably created directly in Facebook, not exported from your home computer, unlike your photographs which you probably created and then uploaded. But even then, the captions for your photographs may well have been created directly in Facebook or Flickr, while your PC or phone thinks of them only as IMG00345.jpg.

So you need some way to back up your data from services that may not have been built for it. With Gmail, you can use IMAP to copy it down to your PC - does Facebook have anything better than screen captures available?

Re:You created your data inside the service (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39924343)

Facebook lets you download all of "your" data. This mean photos, messages, and comments on your wall. It does not includes comments you make on other people's walls. That is "their" data.

The problem is that the format is not very convenient for integrating into other tools. And, you have to download everything (so it's a big wad that you won't grab very often).

Mod Points (5, Funny)

AndrewStephens (815287) | about 2 years ago | (#39923853)

Sometimes I wish Slashdot would let me download my mod points in an open format and use them on another web site. I have some Facebook posts in mind that need down-modding.

Data decays (2)

flyingfsck (986395) | about 2 years ago | (#39923855)

The value of most data decays over time and almost everything becomes worthless eventually when the owners die. So if Facebook and the like goes away, very little will be lost. There are literally only one or two books per century that are worth preserving.

Re:Data decays (4, Insightful)

Fallingcow (213461) | about 2 years ago | (#39923979)

You've got a point, but that's a gross exaggeration. What did the 20th century give us? Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Bertrand Russell, Richard Feynman, Vonnegut... between them, dozens of books worth preserving, and that's just a tiny selection of major 20th century authors. It might be argued that the number will diminish over time (Feynman's physics lectures might not always be so great in light of newer work, after all, and god knows not all of Vonnegut's work is worth a damn) but it'll take a very long time for it to reach two.

Hell, there are centuries BCE that I think most scholars would say have more than two books worth preserving.

Re:Data decays (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39924447)

dozens of books worth preserving

Exactly... dozens from the hundreds of thousands published.
As he said, almost everything becomes worthless.

Thrid: (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39923867)

Any company whose profit is distributed unfairly should be sized and turned over to the public sector where it will be administered to best fit the interests of the proletariat.

really people, let the free market work. If Facebook does go down catastrophically, then it will show people that open standards are indeed necessary. Much like how Microsoft now uses an XML based format as its default document format after consumers threatened to run when they realized that their old corrupted documents were unrecoverable.

Re:Thrid: (1)

oxdas (2447598) | about 2 years ago | (#39924159)

While I agree with you in this case. Let me point out a contradiction in your post. You mention that the companies have profits and then state it is a free market. If the market is indeed perfectly free, then there are no profits. Companies have no interest in a free market. They are trying to form monopoly positions to extract maximum profits. This leads to a never-ending struggle between government (i.e. the people) trying to preserve free markets and corporations trying to destroy them.

Re:Thrid: (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39924599)

the government is not the people's only lever to pull, and probably shouldn't be the first lever we go to pull when we don't like something. just stop using the product. when all your friends stop using it, they will start to care. if everyone keeps using it and complains to the gov to try to fix it, the feedback loop is broken because like it or not, you don't influence your gov as much as the corps, especially when you enforce the corps position by continuing to use them when you don't like what they are doing. If you stopped doing that, you would start to weaken the corps hold on the gov as well. You don't just elect gov officials, you elect those corporations you are complaining about. No one is forcing you to use facebook, stop voting for them by not using their product anymore.

also, there totally are profits in a free market so your post is dumb. profit is not only extracted via a monopoly position.

Facebook *and* Google (4, Informative)

kiwimate (458274) | about 2 years ago | (#39923881)

Before the onslaught of a slew of "and nothing was lost" comments inspired by a mention only of social networks and Facebook, the Forbes article (as you can tell if you hover over it) is talking about any behemoth and specifically singles out Google and Facebook. The article title is actually "Here's Why Google and Facebook Might Completely Disappear in the Next 5 Years".

It's also not talking about a total disappearance:

there are good reasons to think both might be gone completely in 5 â" 8 years. Not bankrupt gone, but MySpace gone.

So not quite the desolation that people are thinking. But if we're worried, why not look at what happened with Alta Vista or Geocities and go from there...

Re:Facebook *and* Google (1)

veganboyjosh (896761) | about 2 years ago | (#39924105)

I think one major difference is that the the three you mentioned, and many of the others of popular cum changed and/or gone away sites is that Google and hopefully (for their sake) Facebook have the foresight to be constantly adapting to what's needed and wanted in the user marketplace. If Google lags and someone else comes along and manages to get more direct marketable eyeballs than Google does, then yeah, they'll change and/or shrivel up as the ad dollars migrate. But how many people do they have working on this exact problem on a daily basis? I'm guessing more than Geocities ever did.

Re:Facebook *and* Google (4, Insightful)

Dahamma (304068) | about 2 years ago | (#39924213)

Facebook, maybe (but no, not really).

Google? Anyone claiming they can be replaced in 5 years just has NO idea how much work it really was to get to where they are today. The fact that it's trivially simple to search for something on Google and find decent results in 100ms does NOT MEAN it's a trivially simple thing to implement. It means they have spent an insane amount of time and money to make it trivially simple to use.

There are a LOT of search engines that failed over the years... but why? Because Google was so much better there was no reason to use them. Until someone makes something better, I don't think they are in any danger of irrelevance...

wow (0, Troll)

the_Bionic_lemming (446569) | about 2 years ago | (#39923893)

I guess I am the only person on the planet who never got a facebook account, and as such will not be impacted in some way when a firm that took all of your personal information and sold it to others fails.

Yay me!

Re:wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39923933)

No, you're just another fucktard in a long line of fucktards who likes to wear his lack of facebook like a badge of honor.
 
Not to say that anyone should sign up for facebook but having or not having a facebook account doesn't mean jack shit in all reality and going out of your way to make a big deal out of your own self-importance just shows what kind of shithead you are.
 
Oh, and by the way, if someone can make money off of the knowledge that any strange on the street could get from me? More power to them. I listen to Pink Floyd, I like to listen to the Grok Science Show, I read a bit of everything and I like Star Trek. Have at it, boy. I hope you make a mint.

Re:wow (5, Interesting)

ziggit (811520) | about 2 years ago | (#39924085)

The way I see it is that there is definitely a happy medium to having a facebook. I mean, you don't have to use all the functionality of it. I don't 'like' random things I find on there play any of the games or anything, I rarely post status updates, I periodically upload a picture or 2. Its mainly just an easy central point of contact for people. I see facebook as being similar to having my name in the phone book. And if someone is paranoid about being tracked, well, that's what noscript and adblock+ are for.

Re:wow (5, Funny)

Black Parrot (19622) | about 2 years ago | (#39923971)

I guess I am the only person on the planet who never got a facebook account

Me too!

Hey - we should be friends, and maybe use the internet to keep track of what other like-minded people are doing.

WOW, Two persons, both only. WOW. (1)

dragisha (788) | about 2 years ago | (#39924561)

Am I also only person without facebook account? Am not!

Am only one of those persons who do not keep anything worth worrying about on facebook.

Re:wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39923997)

I'm with you. And don't listen to that other twat. People like us will sill know how to socialise and interact with people. A whole generation will be stunned-stupid much like the population in The Truman Show was when the show went off air.

Re:wow (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | about 2 years ago | (#39924173)

I guess I am the only person on the planet who never got a facebook account, and as such will not be impacted in some way when a firm that took all of your personal information and sold it to others fails.

Yay me!

Heh, well yeah I guess there are benefits to not having any friends. I'm glad Slashdot was able to brighten your day.

Re:wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39924283)

That's nothing. I don't even have a Slashdot account. Anyone without an ISP account to out-hipster me?

Re:wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39924613)

I'm posting from a stolen netbook in a library I broke into earlier tonight.

While we're fantasizing... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39923897)

The second is to reform the corporate structure of larger companies to include some directors elected by consumers, rather than just shareholders. Not all the directors, like in the Cooperative Group, and not even a majority, but just a small portion of the board â" say one third."

The third should be to reform the corrupt structure of larger governments to include some legislative seats prohibited from being held by left-wingers. Just a small portion of them, say one third.

Re:While we're fantasizing... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39923949)

The second is to reform the corporate structure of larger companies to include some directors elected by consumers, rather than just shareholders. Not all the directors, like in the Cooperative Group, and not even a majority, but just a small portion of the board â" say one third."

The third should be to reform the corrupt structure of larger governments to include some legislative seats prohibited from being held by career politicians. Just a small portion of them, say all of them.

Signed.

Re:While we're fantasizing... (2)

Nutria (679911) | about 2 years ago | (#39923985)

Even better: let's imagine how productive, happy and content we'd all be in workers' cooperatives.

Re:While we're fantasizing... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39924401)

Even better, you imagine what you want and I'll imagine how happy and content I'd be if you assholes - who want to dictate to others what they should imagine and be in - didn't exist. I'm not here to be productive for your sacred god society you commie piece of shit.

Myspace died (1)

zippo01 (688802) | about 2 years ago | (#39923907)

Myspace died or some would say on life support, and noone seems to mind. If people are dense enough to store all of their priceless data on a free to use social network, with no back-up and want to complain when it goes down and loose it all, its on them.

I've solved this problem (mostly) in my head (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39923917)

Anything I put on a social network, I consider it "lost". I treat it like conversation. Growing up, there was never any expectation that my conversations would be archived. I treat social networks like that. Yep, Slashdot postings too. Once in a while I'll get some +5 that I think is worth saving, but even most of those aren't worth it. Even the several blogs or sites I've had over the years don't hold up very well over time.

Let's face it. Most of us aren't Shakespeare. Most of us have pretty boring lives. How do you know if you *do* have an interesting life? Somebody else starts a page for you. So that solves the problem right there. Just do nothing on social networks, and let somebody without a life do it for you.

Now, all of this is a separate issue from being able to "back down" your data. I have to admit I haven't done that with my Flickr pix. It's my one weakness. I really need to at least download the pix and burn them all one one CD. I have the raw data, but the selection of what was "post worthy" and the comments and metadata are the real problem. I'll take care of it one day, or my unremarkable life will end before somebody does it for me.

And now, to drive the point home, I'll post this AC instead of using my Karma +2 bonus account that I've had for 10 years.

Re:I've solved this problem (mostly) in my head (1)

Shavano (2541114) | about 2 years ago | (#39924157)

Anything I put on a social network, I consider it "lost". I treat it like conversation. Growing up, there was never any expectation that my conversations would be archived. I treat social networks like that.

And that's a mistake. Because they are being archived, but not by you and not for your purposes but by a corporation for corporate purposes and by anybody who's interested in recording your profile over time. It's creepy how easy Facebook and any other social media site make it to build a profile on you.

I predict that soon it will be an everyday occurrence to hear of people who have been impersonated based on Facebook data, and occasionally for more than just simple theft.

Generation Gap (5, Insightful)

conner_bw (120497) | about 2 years ago | (#39923919)

Facebook, or any social network, will naturally deteriorate with the next generation gap.

No teenager or young adult wants to be in the same social space as their parents.

Right now it's a novelty and it's generally accepted that "Parents just don't understand" (the internet.)

What lies ahead is surely not our teenagers hanging out in the same social space as the people who code this for a living today.

That's just lame.

Re:Generation Gap (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | about 2 years ago | (#39923989)

Facebook, or any social network, will naturally deteriorate with the next generation gap.

No teenager or young adult wants to be in the same social space as their parents

So to be rebellious they'll create Assbook.

Re:Generation Gap (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39924053)

Greetings, I'm an angel investor who manages a mutual fund derived from baby boomer pensions and union fees. I would like to know more about AssBook. Call me!

Re:Generation Gap (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39924451)

They already have AssBook. It's called Xtube.com (NSFW).

Re:Generation Gap (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39924505)

Facebook, or any social network, will naturally deteriorate with the next generation gap.

No teenager or young adult wants to be in the same social space as their parents.

Right now it's a novelty and it's generally accepted that "Parents just don't understand" (the internet.)

What lies ahead is surely not our teenagers hanging out in the same social space as the people who code this for a living today.

That's just lame.

I call Bull Crap. My daughter talks to her Granny over facebook...in fact a great deal of interaction is between the generations, if anything this is the real strength of social media. Until her death my aunt was a spark plug on facebook. On the other hand a nephew who is into coke and is a real piece of work posts crap and gets slapped down for being an idiot. He wound up in goal and no one was surprised because the stupid kid posted about his exploits...we warned him.

So he was essentially crying out for help, the judge saw this and lightened his sentence because of the fact that he was in reality crying out for help. If he had not made these cries for help on social media then perhaps he would not have gotten into rehab.

If anything social media can help bridge the generation gap, and do not for one second think that the events surrounding the Arab spring were not in the least effected by social media bridging the gap between the generations. Social media is not going away any time soon, and countries that are socially repressive will try to control it ...

China, Pakistan, Iran, and the likes are all vulnerable to the truth that social media can expose so bridging the gap between people is a great hope for us all. Curtailing social media and eliminating it would only cause more revolutions. The Chinese, Pakistanis, and Iranians are all ancient and very wise peoples but if they continue to repress their population it will only blow up in their face the way repression always does in time. Revolution is the price of repression, not perhaps immediately but with the advent of personal communication on a global scale repression is becoming much harder to maintain for those who promulgate it, and bridging the imaginary "generation gap" is social media's greatest strength.

It Screams Stupid (1)

whisper_jeff (680366) | about 2 years ago | (#39923935)

No, I'm not going to read the article because the summary screams of stupid. The first warning sign of complete idiocy was the claim that if Facebook collapsed there "would be potentially huge costs to its users". Um, what cost? If Facebook fails it will cost me exactly $0.00. Nothing. Zero. Zip. Zilch. Nada. I don't know how to make that any clearer but Facebook's failure carries no costs for its users. Second, to suggest that social networks _must_ use open standards and that this requirement should be written into law is so staggeringly stupid it simply hurts my brain. So, no, I didn't read the article. I've been attempting to reduce the amount of stupid I'm exposed to and that summary tells me the article screams stupid.

There was a time when reading Slashdot was interesting and informative. That time seems to be quickly fading...

Re:It Screams Stupid (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39924395)

No, I'm not going to read the article because the summary screams of stupid

Well I did read it, and quite frankly I feel dumber for bothering to take the time to go over the Forbes article.

Summary: Google and Facebook will fail because other companies in the past haven't been able to adapt to change.
Logic: Everything is going mobile, the web will die, so Google and Facebook will become irrelevant because they don't do anything with mobile.

Yes, really, that's what they're saying. Well at least for Facebook, he really doesn't try to explain why Google is going to go down. I'd guess someone mentioned Android and ruined his theories about not being invested in mobile. And his argument regarding Facebook is they don't have a fancy enough app. Oh and did I mention this all hinges on the death of the web itself?

Funny how this article, largely an Anti-Facebook rant, is coming out just prior to FB making its IPO. If I was an investor, I think I'd be cancelling my Forbes subscription right about now. (Not that I'd invest in FB anyhow, IMHO it's going to be vastly over-valued and Zucker hasn't shown himself to be much of a business man as of yet).

Re:It Screams Stupid (1)

FunkDup (995643) | about 2 years ago | (#39924579)

Facebook's failure carries no costs for its users.

Some would argue that you confused facebooks users with its product.Others would remind you of the existence of Facebook credits.

I did not read that crap either.

You do not have a FaceBook page (5, Insightful)

AndrewStephens (815287) | about 2 years ago | (#39923937)

This goes for all social networks (including Slashdot) but I will use Facebook as an example:

You do not have a FaceBook page.

No you don't.

Facebook has a page on you, which you update for them for free. You are a product that Facebook produces for its customers. The customers of Facebook are the advertisers, not you. This is not necessarily a bad deal for you. You get to show people Facebook's page about you, and derive pleasure from interacting with Facebook's pages about your friends. All for free.

But don't get upset when Facebook decides to improve things for its customers, because they can (and should) put them first. Facebook owes you nothing.

Regulating social networks seems like an exercise in frustration. What counts as a social network? Does my blog count? Do I need to let users download all their comments in an "industry standard format"? Do MMO's count? Can I download my +5 firesword?

Re:You do not have a FaceBook page (1)

masmullin (1479239) | about 2 years ago | (#39924123)

Facebook owes you nothing

Actually, the unwritten contract is that "if facebook becomes too unpleasant to use, I will stop giving facebooks my valuable data"

AKA if they change things so much that I find it annoying to use (or cant figure it out period), I'll stop using it. Since Timeline, I expect that my usage has had a significant drop as I no longer can "use" a lot of the features I once did. Specifically there were a few fan-pages I attended at least 3 or 4 times an evening that I don't use at all now because I cant figure out how to use these pages for chatting with other fans with this timeline thing.

It's not that I dont use facebook anymore, it's just that I use it less, and im more focused in what I do with it.

Red Rock should be renamed... (1)

Nutria (679911) | about 2 years ago | (#39923947)

Red Flag.

Elect consumers to the Board Of Directors of major corporations?

WTF?

Who would actually do the voting for a multi-national corporation?

Every citizen of every country where the company has an office? That obviously wouldn't work.

What would *really* happen is that governments would appoint some mix of politically connected toadies and agenda-driven left-wing activists who's only goal are to bleed the company dry.

Your data is garbage (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39923957)

There I said it.

Loss of personal data happens all the time (viruses, hardware failures, etc.)

The sun will rise tomorrow if you lose all your cat pictures and the other random crap on your hard drive. Likewise, you will survive a theoretical death of, say, Facebook.

Outside the internet, there is place called real life. Surprisingly, if the internet goes down it still works.

Re:Your data is garbage (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39924135)

With the advent of Netflix, I no longer care about losing my giant stash of pirate movies
With the advent of youporn, I no longer care about my giant stash of porn

I still worry about my music collection though

This (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39923969)

"mandate that all data held about a user is downloadable by that user, in an open standard"

T'would be an onerous mandate, but rightly ought to be the price paid for building up dossiers on people.

We've already seen this.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39923975)

..with MySpace. It's dying. If I had to guess, I would say that if Facebook were to go, it would go in much the same fashion: slowly. The department tag on the article actually is meaningful. TFA is inventing a crisis in order to demand a solution. The chances of Facebook suddenly disintegrating in a catastrophic, all-consuming collapse are so incredibly slim that they aren't worth considering. Any event happening on a scale that causes Facebook and all of its infrastructure to disappear instantaneously(as is implied in "go down") would bring far worse consequences to other, more important parts of our lives.

IMO, TFA has one of two things going on behind the scene:
1) The proposed "suggestions" are kneejerk reactions to a paranoid fantasy(Facebook blowing up).
2) The proposals are driven by an ulterior motive less noble/agreeable than "what if Facebook were to go down?"

"Too big to fail"? (0)

J'raxis (248192) | about 2 years ago | (#39923977)

The first is draw up an Open Data Bill and pass it into law. This would (where applicable) mandate the use of open standards by firms, and also mandate that all data held about a user is downloadable by that user, in an open standard.

So I guess this is the other side's version of "too big to fail." Instead of thieving billions from the public to support "too big to fail" companies, steal everything from those companies for the public's benefit.

I wonder if it's even possible for a government-based solution to a problem that isn't downright predatory.

All your data is downloadable in open standard. (1)

blind biker (1066130) | about 2 years ago | (#39923995)

all data held about a user is downloadable by that user, in an open standard

This is exactly what Google+ allows. I have not used other social networks, so I don't know whether they offer this option (but am guessing mostly no).

But Google+ isn't a Social Network (1)

billstewart (78916) | about 2 years ago | (#39924247)

Eric Schmidt said it was an identity service. I have enough social networks available, and don't see any need for an identity service (especially one where I'm the product, not the user), so I didn't join.

Android is Mobile, no? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39924001)

Is the Android platform that runs most mobile devices, not mobile?

Yuh Huh (1)

Greyfox (87712) | about 2 years ago | (#39924017)

We need to make sure we preserve all those incriminating photos you posted on Facebook in your 20s so they continue to haunt you all the way to your grave.

The future is tiny screens? (1, Interesting)

Animats (122034) | about 2 years ago | (#39924047)

What seems to be happening lately is that the "Web" companies are trying to force small phone-screen layouts onto big-screen machines. That's what "Metro" is. Even Mozilla has a similar thing in the works. (The menu bar moves to the bottom of the screen and becomes darker. New!)

The other big trends are slaving everything to the "cloud", whether it needs it or not, an anal-probe level of tracking, and an "app store". The goal seems to be to create closed ecosystems with no escape. It worked for Apple.

Not much in the way of new capabilities comes with this. Before Siri, there was TellMe, which was voice-driven, speaker independent, and useful for movies and driving directions, and Wildfire, which was a very nice voice oriented phone management system. Microsoft bought both and trashed them. TellMe shuts down at the end of this month. Microsoft instead suggests using Bing from your smartphone. While driving?

What we're really getting from smartphones is automation of the banal. Ten years from now, search engines will still be around. There's a market for being able to search through all the publicly available information in the world. The more banal stuff, the "social" stuff, will move to phones.

Tablets are output-mostly devices, and as such, tend to be used more for entertainment than work. Then again, as work moves to "machines should think, people should work", work computing may become more output-only.

AOL Keyword: (1)

Intropy (2009018) | about 2 years ago | (#39924061)

Recently I've been noticing advertisements on TV and billboards with a company's facebook page listed in addition to or in place of where you might expect to see a more full-fledged website's url. It reminds me of a decade ago when everyone was listing "www.foo.com or AOL keyword foo."

Homeland Security (1)

SgtDink (1930798) | about 2 years ago | (#39924077)

HS has backups of all your data. Why worry? Anyways, I'm a digital pack rat and can't find shit when I need it. And I don't want to look at pictures of my fat ass anymore.

2 problems (1)

Dripdry (1062282) | about 2 years ago | (#39924081)

1) Let the USER download their information to hold onto it? Ok, I suppose it depends what kind of data that is, but I suspect that users have systems much more insecure than facebook's (this is assuming this "open standard" will retain anything super sensitive)

2) What he seems to be saying is,"Let's make it formal that we're a fascist state by electing representatives to corporations." Now, some days I think the U.S. is much farther gone than on other days, but whatever mood strikes me this just seems to cement the idea in place that corps are government entities. Those elected entities are SUPPOSED to be the board of directors, elected by stockholders.

Here is a dose of reality for ALL of you : (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39924097)

You are going to die.

No one will care about what you did on Facebook while you were alive.

You do not matter nearly as much as you think you do.

Best to actually live life rather than worrying about crap like this.

So many bad ideas in this... (1)

Shoten (260439) | about 2 years ago | (#39924113)

"Mandate open standards by firms"

Wow, where do I fucking begin with how ass-poundingly dumb THIS idea is. Mandate open standards for what, exactly? Data exchange? Data storage? The underlying schema? Write a law that defines how all social networks have to use 'standards' for how to do their business. Great. What a douchebag, just for thinking that this is even feasible under current law. While he's at it, he should define the companies that fall under this...theoretically, Slashdot could fall within it, as could Gawker. IF such legislation ever came to pass it would require that all companies in scope gut their internal systems and code to comply...think about that one.

"reform the corporate structure of larger companies to include some directors elected by consumers, rather than just shareholders"

Holy shit. He wants to just usurp all the legal precedent about the existential nature of what defines a corporation? Actually, no...it's far, far worse than that. What if it's pre-IPO (in other words, as it stands today) Facebook? There IS no board of directors yet...there are no shareholders, because there is no stock. So...force privately-held organizations to bow down and hand over control for free...or conversely, do the same to shareholders of existing corporations? Again, not even remotely feasible under law. Ownership and control are linked. You cannot, in a democratic and free society, just arbitrarily take control from people who own and give it to the masses. That behavior is for socialist, communist, and national socialist forms of government.

This faggot gives me a case of Tourette's that would make a sailor bleed from the ears. He should learn about government and the rights of individuals...and while he's at it, should study up on examples of what's happened when the government has mandated 'standards' in the past (like HIPAA)...before he comes out with this bullshit. And believe it or not, I'm a centrist/liberal!

Re:So many bad ideas in this... (1)

mypalmike (454265) | about 2 years ago | (#39924369)

"What if it's pre-IPO (in other words, as it stands today) Facebook? There IS no board of directors yet...there are no shareholders, because there is no stock."

I don't think you know much about how private corporations work. Facebook has all of these things: directors, shares, and shareholders.

Still waiting for Social Networking Protocol (2)

Dare (18856) | about 2 years ago | (#39924131)

The minute social networks start behaving like email (that is, work with protocols that communicate but anyone can actually run a server, preferably one of many available flavors) I'll get into them. Not before. Diaspora seems to be going that way, but I haven't yet gotten around to setting up a pod of my own.

HTML is not an open enough standard? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39924139)

It already is, at least as far as what you put on it, not Facebook's internal data/connections etc but you shouldn't really have access to that anyways, that's for their actual customers. Or is HTML not open enough for you?

Do people not realize these "Web Apps" and "Social Networks" simply output to html?

Really? (1)

bobdole2111 (1134689) | about 2 years ago | (#39924155)

""The second is to reform the corporate structure of larger companies to include some directors elected by consumers, rather than just shareholders. Not all the directors, like in the Cooperative Group, and not even a majority, but just a small portion of the board — say one third."" Why is this crap hitting the front page? Can we please just move articles like these over to socialistdot.org?

Whats interesting to me is (3, Insightful)

future assassin (639396) | about 2 years ago | (#39924175)

as people I know started to sign up and use social sites more and more I stared getting less and less calls from them. Now I only get calls from a few of them. Don't get me wrong its not a bad thing as it lets me know who my real friends are.

Google+ (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39924191)

Yet another reason to switch to Google+. Google's data liberation efforts are second to none - they have an entire team dedicated solely to allowing you to export your data: http://www.dataliberation.org/ [dataliberation.org]

Forbes article say what? (1)

Colven (515018) | about 2 years ago | (#39924209)

I read that Forbes article about 80% of the way through... I tried to stop at "We will never have Web 3.0, because the Web’s dead," but for some reason, just had to keep going until I couldn't bear it anymore.

Holy hell... I'm on the internet 8+ hours a day on a desktop, and might average 15 minutes a day via mobile... I'm not sure what web he's been using, but the one I'm on is pretty spry. Everyone in my company is pretty much the same with the desktops/laptops, but I'm sure there are a number who spend more time with their mobile devices than I do.

How could ANYONE state that Google doesn't get mobile when they made the frickin' droid?!

And Amazon? It's not as mobile friendly, I'll admit, but they've added a lot of social aspects to their system over the years... so his argument about them not getting "web 2.0" isn't really that well founded, either.... and hell, they made MTurk back in what, '03 or '04? Isn't that a kin to what we now call crowd-sourcing?

And who cares how long Facebook is around? How can you even compare them to Google or Amazon? They don't do anything!

That guy... bsi. /rant

Here's a radical idea... (4, Insightful)

SeaFox (739806) | about 2 years ago | (#39924217)

Let's avoid worrying about the collapse of social network sites by not using them to begin with.

No, really. Stop uploading everything to a third-party company so they can data-mine it and make it hard for you to get any of it back if their business plan fails. You want a presence on the Net? Run a blog on your own website. You can even pick the domain you really want to hand out then. People can leave comments, subscribe with RSS, communicate with you via this fabulous standard called email. Web hosting is cheap. You can add advertising to help pay the bill for it, no different than an ad-filled experience at existing social networks now is it? Still too expensive? Well social networks and blogs aren't a necessity of life, they're recreational things -- hobbies. Hobbies cost money, ask anyone who does model trains, remote control airplanes, woodworking, stamps, etc. If you don't want to pay for it maybe you don't want to do it that badly. Not everyone has to have a page on the Internet, not everyone who does necessarily has anything really to say. There's millions of ghost ship blogs their owners haven't written on in years.

We already have standards for moving this information around. It's called HTML, JPEG, GIF, all those web languages and filetypes you can open with any web browser.

What a non-issue.

Re:Here's a radical idea... (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about 2 years ago | (#39924597)

people running their own blogs is much more vulnerable to decay and disappearing, pretty annoying to find a post that links to a dead post that was popular guide for doing some thing xyz. and frankly blogosphere is more vulnerable for history edits too. which is why we're on slashdot and not doing twitter retweets notifying of our new comments - which sucks bigtime.

and there's a cooperative corporation model the guy is suggesting(users as owners), doesn't suit too well for social network companies though.

ARE YOU A FUCKING COMMIE BASTARD ?? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39924239)

Or a commie dumbass ?? You bleading heart commuinsts need to go back to whatever fucking hole of a country you are from and stay the fuck out of here !!

We'll all die. Our data may live. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39924279)

If you read the social media related news at least once a month, you've seen this article in a shape or another at least 10 times since 2007 or even earlier.
It's tiring to have to sieve through sensationalist headlines hiding content such as "Facebook will probably die in 5 to 500 years". Well that just came in: so will you, your pets and your whole step-family.

As it is, the comments here are much more relevant than the article, and the real question is :"What about the unification of user data?"

Aren't you guys pissed every time a new web service turns out to be just another way to pull your data from somewhere and show them differently somewhere else, with added proprietary, segregated metadata? (Pinterest, anyone?)
I don't give a damn where my data is, I just want two things: I want it to be mine and I want it to be consistent with itself.

Marketers are stupid not to push into that direction, because that would make the job much easier for them. And I think it would make the whole browsing experience much, much better. So yeah. Protocol-level data graph, UUID and consorts. ASAP.

Preserve forever? (1)

darkfeline (1890882) | about 2 years ago | (#39924291)

This idea of preserving and saving everything is a little strange, especially considering that we are basically using the most volatile medium in the history of mankind, hard drives and so on. If you want something to last a long time, carve it into rock. Why would you want to keep all your social network photos/posts anyway? It's not like you'll ever look back over it or anything. Save it locally if you really have to.

Where do I sign up? (1)

habib23 (33217) | about 2 years ago | (#39924327)

I'm sure companies everywhere will be eager to list somewhere where the law dictates that they must give up one third of their representation that should be determined by ownership, in their company, to consumers. And I'm sure shareholders will be oh so eager to buy shares where their representation is likewise diluted, in companies listed in countries with such regulations. But dream on shiny socialists!

I don't want to know what data they hold (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39924331)

I don't know what kind of crazy embarrassing data these corporations have on me and I don't want to know, I cringe just thinking about the possibilities. Use it to sell me synthesizers and chukka boots if you want, I just don't want anyone besides a brainless database to see it.

Rambling article (1)

mypalmike (454265) | about 2 years ago | (#39924355)

The Forbes article smells like a Wired or Fast Company article from 1999. It even uses the much loved phrase of that time, "paradigm shift." And then there's this nugget:

"It’s a lot easier to start asking Siri for information instead of typing search terms into a box compared to thousands of enterprises ceasing to upgrade to the next version of Windows."

What?

Facebook already has this... (1)

duk242 (1412949) | about 2 years ago | (#39924425)

You can already download all your data from facebook... Under Account Settings then Download Data, it gives you everything there.. easy.

Facebook disappear? (1)

flimflammer (956759) | about 2 years ago | (#39924521)

As much as I and others have been able to avoid getting involved in social networking websites, it's not as though anyone should seriously believe Facebook would vanish into the night suddenly and leave everyone stranded. The only way Facebook is going down is through a competing product taking away its users, like Facebook did to MySpace.

Cold, hard facts (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39924523)

Open standards are well and good, the world as we know it would not be possible without them, but having said that...

Making a yet-to-be written standard mandatory invites standardization hell! 802.11! 802.3! 802.5 actually came together quickly, but only beacuse the players involved were IBM, IBM, IBM, IBM, IBM, Madge, IBM, and IBM. Remember those silly MAU connectors? But I digress.

Sometimes, when a company / bunch of hackers / cloistered mad scientist comes up with a piece of hackery, it forms a beautiful seed around which standards can nucleate. For instance, UNIX. And let's face it, none of the POSIX / UNIX xx / SLS standards have really even been that good; by the time really good, compliant, interoperable UNIX 95 implementations were available, UNIX 95 was old and broken garbage and UNIX 98 was the new hotness. ISO knows how to kill trees, but sometimes it takes a Gary Kildall or Stephen Bourne to make that first, gloroius Bastard Hax upon which subsequent standards are built.

Facebook going down would IMPROVE economy (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39924607)

Just think of countless billions of man years wasted on facebook each year could buy in terms of demand for goods and services or people actually doing their jobs rather than pissing their day away stalking their "friends".

Facebook going down would not ruin the economy...not only would the economy improve it would also enhance the lives of its former users.

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