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Facebook Walks a Dangerous Fine Line

Posted June 4th, 2012 in Facebook, privacy, social media, social network and tagged , , , by Alton Drew

The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that Facebook is contemplating technology that would allow children under the age of thirteen to use the social networking site. As if this company doesn’t have enough on its political plate.

Regulators are concerned that investment banks may have shared information about Facebook’s ability to adapt to a mobile app world or make money from advertisements. Now the social networking giant with 900 million users is literally giving Congress an invitation to drag Mark Zuckerberg on to Capitol Hill to have a sit down.

Somehow I don’t see members of Congress wanting to wear hoodies should such an invite be issued.

Facebook for kids under 13 is troubling. As a father I would prefer Facebook only grant access to people over the age of 35, but that’s a stretch. The privacy infringements and cyber bullying activities should have been the first thing that popped up on Zuckerberg and Cos. Radar.

They must think the additional ad revenue from targeting kids will be well worth it. Let’s face it; the only way that company is going to make money is to get more subscribers hooked and the kid market appears ripe for the taking.

Oh well. I already know what my ten-year old is going to ask, so here is the answer: Hell no.

Social media abuzz over Casey Anthony

Posted July 6th, 2011 in Broadband, Facebook, Internet, social network, Twitter and tagged , , , by Alton Drew

Social media abuzz over Casey Anthony

I admit that I have not followed the Casey Anthony trial. I didn’t even watch any of the coverage until the judge in the case read the instructions to the jury and even so, I had the volume on mute.

My Facebook posse didn’t miss a beat. Since my little social network includes some of my law school classmates, I asked them to chime in about the case. It was good to hear their perspectives, especially since we all started law school literally in the wake of the O.J. Simpson trial, that other trial of the century, fifteen years ago. Lord knows I was tired of undergrads asking me what I thought about the verdict simply because I was a law student.

I did ask myself how the public discourse would have played out in the Simpson case if we had Twitter and Facebook back then. Fifteen years ago we discussed the case in each other’s offices and over the water cooler. Needless to say, the exchange these days is a lot more instantaneous and almost ubiquitous. Imagine discussing American jurisprudence in a 140 characters with friends and family in Miami, Charlotte Amalie, and London, at the same time.

In a way, it speaks to the importance of broadband adoption. Water cooler democracy and engagement has gone bye-bye.

Is Twitter ready for privacy regulation?

Posted December 20th, 2010 in Government Regulation, Internet, privacy, Twitter and tagged , , , , , , by Alton Drew

According to The Wall Street Journal, Twitter is valued at $3.7 billion. The social network hasn’t generated a profit and is trying to incorporate advertising into its business model.

Interesting. So how is Twitter going to convince me to review an advertisement from Coca Cola? If Coca Cola starts “following” me, I can block them.

With only 8% of Internet consumers using Twitter, and the potential of Facebook, Google, Linkedin, or Yahoo! to leverage their communities with a Twitter-like product, I would think that Twitter would want to move quickly from collecting cash from venture capitalists and meager fees from Google, and market their base product more aggressively.

Besides, they’ll also have to factor in the Obama administration’s privacy office initiative. The administration wants to eventually draft rules that would require content aggregators to disclose how they collect commercial information on its users and how they intend to use it.

Should the administration be successful in getting these rules on the books, privacy regulation will become an unfamiliar maze that Twitter will have to navigate.