MySpace Makes Your Profile Portable
Do you have a MySpace profile? If you do, your personal information on MySpace could soon be made available to a number of other Web sites.
The largest social network in the U.S. said today that it is making its members' data available to third-party sites. The first partnering sites are Ebay, Yahoo, Twitter and Photobucket. That means that if you want to make your profile picture or blog available to people on your Yahoo Instant Messenger buddy list, you can. Or if you want to add more information about yourself to your Twitter account, you can sync it with your MySpace profile, and potentially find friends of yours on MySpace who are also regular Twitter-ers.
MySpace says the primary purpose of this move it to help the Web become more social and interconnected, and less like a collection of disparate Web sites. "MySpace no longer operates as an autonomous island on the Internet," said Chris DeWolfe, CEO and co-founder of MySpace, during a conference call with reporters today. "We believe your profile will become your Internet address...by being more personal and more portable."
From an advertising perspective, MySpace hopes integrating its features with other sites will encourage people to spend more time on the platform, which generates more ad revenue for the company. And if other sites have access to personal data about you, there's more potential for MySpace to sell highly targeted ads.
From a privacy perspective, this means the personal details you've included on MySpace could be visible across a number of different sites. MySpace says it will let consumers control what information they share and who they share it with. And if you delete or change information from your MySpace profile, those changes will be reflected on the other sites with whom you've chosen to share your information.
Steve Pearman, senior vice president of product development at MySpace, told me this afternoon that the company will take into account any consumer complaints about the data-availability feature as it rolls out over the next couple of weeks. "User data is sacred to us," he said.
MySpace is also part of the OpenSocial alliance spearheaded by Google, a group that was created to foster development of social network applications by third-party developers. While that initiative is supposed to give outside developers access to MySpace members, today's announcement is intended to do the opposite, Pearman said, by giving users the power to export their content and data to outside sites.
MySpace says it is open to relationships with virtually all Web sites--including Facebook, if it is so inclined.
What do you think? Does this raise privacy concerns? Does the Web need to be "more social" or are we all maxed out on status updates?
If you'd like to share your thoughts, shoot me an e-mail at hartk (at) washpost (dot) com.
May 8, 2008; 6:25 PM ET
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