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Diaspora, Facebook's potential rival, offers a peek; Tyler Winklevoss, Zuckerberg's rival, talks


Mark Zuckerberg is having a bad publicity day.

Despite a flattering New Yorker profile of the founder of Facebook (both in writing and in a rather Roman statue-esque photograph), a flurry of media activity has not been so kind.

Although Facebook remains one of the most popular sites on the web, with 500 million users, there has been a backlash against Facebook over Zuckerberg's global openness policy, and the buzz behind the upcoming movie "The Social Network" has put more public eyes on the usually publicity-shy Zuckerberg.

Today, Diaspora, a potential rival for Facebook, released its open source code, inviting designers and programmers to help shape the network. It is still in a very early beta iteration and the alpha site will not launch until October, but there are signs that Diaspora could improve on Facebook and supplant part of its market share. Mashable asked today whether Diaspora would be the social network Firefox to Facebook's Internet Explorer. Firefox was an open source Web browser that took a large chunk of Internet Explorer's market after its launch in 2004.

The New York Post also released an interview of the two twin "sportsmen" (their term) who have spent the past six years embroiled in a legal battle with Zuckerberg. "The Social Network" was based around the supposed betrayal of the twins by their college friend Zuckerberg. Tyler Winklevoss says, "Mark Zuckerberg is turning your profile privacy public, yet he's the same guy who's spending I don't know how many millions of dollars trying to keep his privacy intact."

Finally, Greenpeace stepped up its public complaint against Facebook for choosing to locate its data center in Prineville, Ore., a site that relies on coal. The foundation released an animated commercial spoofing the invention of Facebook. A child's voice narrates the rise of Zuckerberg from friendless college student to businessman standing on a pile of cash with 500 million friends. "A good way of making electricity is by letting cheeky clouds with lips blow windmills round and round, but silly Mark Zuckerberg chose dirty old coal," the child says.

I'm guessing Zuckerberg is looking forward to Oct. 1, the release date for "The Social Network." I can't see the publicity abating anytime before that.

(Note that Post Co. chairman and chief executive Donald E. Graham sits on Facebook's board of directors, and the newspaper and many Post staffers use Facebook for marketing purposes.)

By Melissa Bell  | September 16, 2010; 12:30 PM ET
Categories:  The Daily Catch  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Jane Austen gets digital: Manuscripts will be scanned online
Next: Animated Werner Herzog saves Joaquin Phoenix's life


After reading the article in HP and on RS, I am SO going to see this movie! Zucker"borg" has made more enemies then friends since the inception of Face"borg".

I've gotta see how Hollywood waters down the truth of this kid.

Posted by: cbmuzik | September 16, 2010 2:37 PM | Report abuse

The publicity is definitely good for the movie's buzz. But I really want to see the Twitter movie:

Posted by: Melissa Bell | September 16, 2010 3:17 PM | Report abuse

Facebook has taken not only a hard-line, but with an arrogant attitude, on user privacy. It's about time that an alternative is available. In addition to Diaspora, there is MyCube, The Fridge and others focused on building privacy and control into social networking, and one of these may very well be successful and take a chunk out of Facebook. I certainly hope so.

Posted by: JRandom | September 16, 2010 9:54 PM | Report abuse

Does anybody even pay attention to those crazy hippies at Greenpeace? Seriously, those guys are insane AND pathetic.

Posted by: futbolclif | September 17, 2010 12:44 AM | Report abuse

Diaspora --- couldn't they think of a more difficult name?

Posted by: kkrimmer | September 17, 2010 12:31 PM | Report abuse

say goodbye to your billions zuckerjerk. im leaving for diaspora and im taking my friends with me.

Posted by: anarcho-liberal-tarian | September 17, 2010 3:38 PM | Report abuse

@futbolclif: Yes, quite a few people pay close attention to Greenpeace. I am a supporting member. I am not a hippy -- not that there is anything wrong with being a hippy. Greenpeace does very good work helping to bring the spotlight to important, yet underreported stories about environmental destruction and harm to endangered animals.

Posted by: caferide | September 17, 2010 5:49 PM | Report abuse

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