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Friday, September 22, 2006

The courting of Facebook

Facebook's 22-year-old founder Mark Zuckerberg is undecided about Yahoo's $900 million offer for the site, the New York Times reports. He is "a member of the Google generation … too young to remember all the ambitions dashed and fortunes lost when the last dot-com boom ended," which may be one reason for his indecision, the Times suggests. The good news about this offer, if Mark is worried about maintaining control, is that Yahoo "it will keep the company somewhat independent, with Mr. Zuckerberg in charge. This has been its model with other acquisitions like Flickr, a photo-sharing site, and, a social bookmarking service that lets members share lists of their favorite Web sites." Here's the San Jose Mercury News on the Yahoo/Facebook discussion. As for recent changes at Facebook, The Tartan at Carnegie Mellon zoomed in on their real impact (e.g., students at that university will still only have access to fellow Facebookers on that campus). The Tartan also looked at a just-released study by CMU professors, “Awareness, Information Sharing, and Privacy of Facebook." It found that privacy awareness isn't high – "close to 50% of Facebook users surveyed gave the wrong answer when asked about who could view their Facebook profile. The researchers also found that most students tried to protect their privacy by controlling the information they revealed to the online community, rather than adjusting the site’s privacy controls. When the survey highlighted potential privacy concerns, only about 5% subsequently changed their online behavior" (parents, the figure is probably not much different on any social site populated by teens).


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