Facebook’s Zuckerberg Apologizes; Is Not lonelygirl15

mark zuckerberg, facebokThe 22-year-old proprietor of the infectiously popular Facebook, the two-year-old social networking Web site for the college set, apologized this morning, for what I — and others — felt was merely exposing the obvious.

Zuckerberg and his staffers will take part in a chat Saturday at 4 p.m. ET in a Facebook group he started last week addressing net neutrality and the upcoming election: “Free Flow of Information on the Internet.”

Nobody but the 9 million + Facebook members appear to matter, however, as the majority of the social network watching blogosphere has become wholly obsessed (as before it was only moderately obsessed) with the mystery of lonelygirl15, now playing in a USAToday (popcandy blog) and L.A. Times near you.

Thanks Staci @ PaidContent for the heads up.

The Facebook Lesson

22-year-old Harvard dropout Mark Zuckerberg delivered the lesson of the year to college (and some high school) campuses nationwide on Tuesday when he unveiled a revamped version of his superpopular, 2-year-old social networking Web site Facebook.com. The addition of a time-stamped “mini-feed” on each member’s page detailing their Facebook mentions and activities has sparked an uproar (that’s the WSJ’s word) as Generation C is slapped with a reality check: there are no secrets on the Internet.

The Washingon Post bumped the issue to page A01, declaring:

Such a strong reaction in defense of privacy is rare among the teenage and twenty-something generation, which grew up in the era of public disclosure in the form of blogs, videosharing and reality television.

But no longer can Paris Hilton sneak away from a DUI arrest without TMZ on her tail and never again will a Swift Boat hoax turn the tide on an election. Everything is out on the table, and practically everyone is watching. Future presidents are already leaving their paper trail on sites like Facebook. I must congratulate Zuckerberg for providing the 9 million mostly college students who use Facebook the opportunity to look in the mirror and see firsthand just what happens when post content, photos and personal information is posted haphazardly on the Internet. Who knows his true intentions — there is clearly no privacy violated in making it easier for users to read and create the content they signed up for. Tech marketing guru Ed Kohler agrees. So does VC Fred Wilson.

In March, Zuckerberg turned down a $750 million buyout offer and told BusinessWeek he thought Facebook was worth at least $2 billion. 85% of all college students use Facebook, according to TechCrunch, which has prompted university officials to state: “we’ve got alot of catching up to do” as far as keeping tabs on their students. It just got a bit easier — and to be honest, anyone on Facebook could have already been kept track of using RSS.

I spoke to several undergrads today in an Investigative Reporting class and most were shaken by the turn of events. Very few if any in the 14-person class had used MySpace, flickr, or even del.icio.us. But they all use Facebook. The student editors of the Daily Trojan penned a column this week echoing the Facebook wake-up-call: “[B]eyond this lies a simple issue of privacy: How much of your most personal information do you want accessible to anyone who goes, or went, to USC?”

More than anything else, the Facebook lesson helps define how important issues of privacy and of checks and balances on information sharing are as we move forward in the digital age.

UPDATE: Dave Winer chimes in: “Facebook did good. But Facebook also did bad..
More:
A Day Without Facebook protest blog
Facebook User Groups: Students for Changing the Post Mini-Feed World, The Coalition to Stop Facebook, Stalker Edition
USAToday blog asks: “Has Facebook turned into Big Brother?”
IvyLeak: “WSJ Sends Embedded Journalists to Cover Impending Facebook Coup”

Life in the North

netZoo correspondent D. Heimpel just returned from a trip to Israel with the following dispatch.

The thin black trunks of charred pine trees hugged the dusty road of the Biryya forest (map), 20 km south of Lebanon. A few weeks before, a rain of Katyusha rockets lit the forest ablaze. Heat, high winds and steep slopes had conspired to give the fire speed. The result: acres of nuked trees, dead but standing, sap leaking from heat induced cracks.

“What about the animals?” I asked Paul Ginsberg, director of the Forestry Department of northern Israel. The video camera on my lap bumped up and down the as we moved along the dirt road.
Continue reading “Life in the North”

ABC’s Controversial Mini-Series

It’s an insult, a pity, and an embarassment that ABC insists on airing “The Path to 9/11.” Despite pleas to pull it from Bill Clinton, Harry Reid, and others, Disney president and CEO Robert A. Iger is not backing down
mohammed atta the mouseketeer via americablog
ThinkProgress is leading the charge in asking readers to Tell ABC to pull “The Path to 9/11.”. Sheldon Rampton scrutinizingly details fiction in this post.

One of the most upsetting twists to this story, is that Scholastic has actually partnered with ABC to present discussion guides and class materials to contribute to the brainwashing of schoolchildren.

John at Americablog has the post of the week right here. “The Path to Mickey” is an historical look at bias and racism at Disney. Just like ABC’s 9/11 “docudrama“, John warns it is strictly a dramatization.

Pirates at the MPAA?

Ampersand points to a Bitch Magazine interview with Kirby Dick, director of the This Film is Not Yet Rated, now playing at a theatre near you.

The film lambasts the MPAA for its well-known rating system, first implemented in 1968 by Jack Valenti. But, in the Bitch interview, Dick reveals evidence that the MPAA — anti-piracy champion it purports to be — can be pretty casual about distributing illegal copies in-house. Kirby Dick:

Before I submitted the film, I called up the administration of the ratings board, and I said, “Can you assure me that there will be no copies made of this?” And they assured me, in writing, in e-mail, and on the phone, that not only would no copies be made, but that only the raters would see it. Well, I subsequently learned that an MPAA attorney had seen it. I learned that [MPAA president] Dan Glickman had seen it…

I got a call from an MPAA attorney who said “Look, Kirby, I have to tell you, we have made a copy of your film. But you don’t have to worry, because it’s safe in my vault.” [Laughs.] I can tell you that wasn’t reassuring. In a way I wasn’t surprised, but on the other hand, there’s such hypocrisy there. The MPAA has launched this huge antipiracy campaign, and on their website they define even one act of unauthorized duplication of material as piracy. And that’s exactly what they did.

I’m looking forward to checking this one out.

Watch the trailer.

Liz Losh highly recommends it here.