Liminal Existence

Facebook Is Closed for Anything

From Mark Zuckerberg’s post responding to the criticisms of their new ToS:

“We think this is the right way for Facebook to work, and it is consistent with how other services like email work.”

If that’s the case, then why the onerous licensing? I’m quite sure that people running email servers don’t need to negotiate licenses to send and receive email to and from one another. Asymmetrical persistence is a feature, not a bug, of email.

Facebook couldn’t figure out how to replicate email in a closed, centrally controlled corporate environment (hint: you can’t). Resorting to legalese is a by-product of their broken closed model (yes, this includes their support of OpenID and their Facebook PlatformPlantation).

“There is no system today that enables me to share my email address with you and then simultaneously lets me control who you share it with and also lets you control what services you share it with.”

That’s because you can’t control such things. At the end of the day, I can write down a phone number from a screen, and paste it up on telephone poles anywhere I please, shout it out at the top of my lungs. There’s no law that prevents me from doing that, and even if there were, it would be completely unenforceable.

The music and film industries have been fighting this losing battle for years, and frankly it’s depressing to see a major web property co-opting the notion of openness while playing essentially the same DRM game.

With legalese like this, I’m expecting the big announcement at f8 to be OpenFacebookHappyDRM. Code name: Hotel California.

You can OpenID in any time of day, but you can never leave…

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