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 (and 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 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 [2010] (HD)