StuBru, Facebook and why we need (something like) Diaspora

Earlier this month Facebook deleted the official Studio Brussel page, cutting the Flemish youngster radio station off from their 114.000 fans. StuBru didn’t receive information on why the page was deleted, just a vague statement that they breached the Facebook Terms. It took a week to get the page restored, but nonetheless web-editor Stijn Van Kerkhove raved (translated from Dutch);

We were surprised when our website got deleted, but we’re even more pleasantly surprised to be back.

“When our website got deleted”, seriously Stijn? A Facebook-page isn’t a website and it isn’t yours either, ultimately. When on Facebook you are (and I am) at the mercy of a private company that has absolute power over anything you do on its premises. Facebook decides what pages look like, Facebook decides what you can and cannot post and Facebook reserves the right to expel you from their community for whatever reason they do or don’t come up with.

Given the increasing importance of social networks in our lives and economy (and the never-ending privacy-problems with Facebook), I do believe that we’d be better of with a open, decentralized system which does not have a sole (commercial) owner with absolute power. That’s why it’s a good thing that Diaspora exists, even if the alpha code they released a couple of days ago is not up to expectations. That’s why status.net (and identi.ca) are great. And that’s why OStatus, an open standard for following friends and sharing statuses on distributed social networks which is already implemented in status.net and which will probably go into Diaspora as well, is incredibly important.

And on a vaguely related note; that Facebook-movie by Aaron Sorkin and David Fincher looks great, doesn’t it:

The Social Network Official Trailer -In theatres Oct 1 2010

Watch this video on YouTube.

6 thoughts on “StuBru, Facebook and why we need (something like) Diaspora

  1. Philip Paeps

    “Given the increasing importance of social networks in our lives and economy”

    Eh, what? I take it the hype still hasn’t ended yet. Myself, I prefer to have a real social life, rather than a virtual one.

    Reply
    1. frank Post author

      Years ago (it was 1995) I changed jobs to work as web-guy for a photofinishing-company and one of my colleagues from my previous job said “I wouldn’t do that, that web thing will blow over in a couple of years and then what”. Some hypes just don’t go away, they just become part of everyday life. And although I myself have been waiting for that 140 chars-thingy to blow over, I really think social networking isn’t going away anytime soon; social and real don’t have to be mutually exclusive, for lots of people they’re complementary.

      Reply
  2. Jan Seurinck

    Don’t you think a controlled environment has it’s advantages as well, who will control for violence or hatred on diaspora And for customised design, you can move to myspace where you can have all the animated gifs you want. There will be no friends too. It will look like diaspora in two months for that matter.

    Reply
    1. frank Post author

      if we do need a controlled environment to censor violence or hatred on social networks, there’s no reason why we wouldn’t need it on the internet in general and the web specifically as well, no? in that case, will you and me still be allowed to have our self-hosted blogs on which we write whatever comes up in our subversive little heads? will there still be porn? will pictures of breastfeeding be prohibited? will there be info on homosexuality? will there be room for opposing views? who is to decide this and on what grounds?

      no, the decentralized, unregulated nature of the internet and the www in my opinion was (and still is) one of the most important pre-conditions for its enormous success. i’m all for the semi-anarchy of a free speech world wild web (including social networking) … it’s what made this place that great :-)

      Reply
    1. frank Post author

      looks like it … and as the movie focuses on the first couple of years of facebook, which was founded in 2004 and as kde 3.5 was released in 2005, this is probably not the anachronistic blooper I thought it was ;-)

      Reply

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