I had no intention of broaching this topic a second time. I thought I had said all I need to say when I pointed out a version of a Terms of Service that was not outrightly stupid and overly opportunistic. Unfortunately, Facebook hasn’t an ounce of good sense in their collective brains, nor do they appear to understand press cycles.  At all.

Before we broach the topic of what’s still wrong with the Facebook Terms of Service, can we just get that little gem out of the way?  Rather than immediately respond, as any nimble modern tech company can and should, Mark Zuckerberg waits until the controversy has almost completely worked its way through the echo chamber before he responds. That, of course, inspires a whole new round of “coulda, woulda, shoulda” from all the pundits.

Then, of course, two days later when the buzz is just starting to die down … again … Mark Zuckerberg “relents” and instead of actually fixing the TOS in a meaningful way, simply reverts it to another, slightly less stupid version.


..And I do mean slightly less stupid.
I almost wrote about this again when @Veronica (Belmont) posted a tweet that was later highlighted by Valleywag.  I say almost because the responsible thing to do, at least I felt at the time, would be to let this meme die off.

Unfortunately, it seems that just about everyone I’ve read about has missed the original point I was driving at the other day. No, I don’t think, as Veronica says, that it’s part of some grand conspiracy by Facebook to take your cat videos and sell them or what-have-you. 

I do think, though, that it’s indicative of a general level of cluelessness and ineptitude pervasive at Facebook.  Yes, I know, Mark’s theoretically a billionaire and I’m not.  Yes, I know the place is chock full of Google people, Ivy Leaguers and folks otherwise considered to be brilliant.

But I also know that many reports suggest they spend most of their time playing video games and slacking off.  I know that they completely botched their major move to make real money with an advertising initiative when they made the groundbreaking announcement and deployment at AdTech last year of … wait for it … web pages and bacn.

image This is what I’m talking about.  Facebook continually snatches defeat from the jaws of victory.  Back then, the time was perfect to launch a behavioral ad network (as was the speculation at the time) that could compete with Google’s AdSense program for publisher.  The program would use cookies and behavioral data acquired through user behavior and entered data on Facebook.

Instead, they chose to launch an ad program they saw as completely revolutionary and awesome, whereas even my young sons could have told you were stupid, ill-conceived, and even somewhat offensive.

What Does That Have to Do With the TOS?
It isn’t indicative of anything other than a pervasive attitude of entitlement at the corporation, intense incompetence in the public relations department, and an incomprehensible blindness to where the real opportunities in their business are.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again here and now – this business of social networks and Web 2.0 isn’t rocket science.  It’s intuitive work, particularly for people who’ve ever studied sociology, or even Chris Brogan, or understand intrapersonal relationships in the least.

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