OK, so I’ve been released from my NDA. I was alpha testing an upcoming feature of Plaxo Pulse — this feature has not yet been released and now that my account has gotten shut down it’s not clear whether it will be released. It is a Facebook importer that works just like any other address book importer.
What does it collect?
Names and email address and birthday.
Why those? Because it’s trying to connect Facebook names with names in its database.
For instance, it learned that of the 5,000 people in my Facebook account about 1,800 were already on Plaxo.
It did NOT look at anything else. Just this stuff, no social graph data. No personal information.
Why do this?
I wanted to get all my contacts into my Microsoft Outlook address book and hook them up with the Plaxo system, which 1,800 of my friends are already on.
It’s ironic that you can import your Gmail address book into Facebook but you can’t export back out.
I’m getting dozens of emails asking for my script. See, there’s a ton of people who WANT to be deleted from Facebook. So far Facebook has been denying them, saying it’s impossible to delete everything you’ve ever done from Facebook. Well, if you go over to Rodney Rumford’s blog you can see that’s totally hogwash. Facebook CAN totally delete you from Facebook IF IT WANTS!
Well, I will talk to the developers about that later today. Suw makes the same point in a Seesmic video, by the way.
Me? My account is still down and haven’t heard back from Facebook yet. Since it’s just about 7 a.m. here in California, I expect it’ll be a few more hours before I hear back.
Facebook claims it is a “utility.” Well, I like how Kara Swisher put it. Hint: “utilities” have due process and don’t just shut down someone’s account without a warning. You should see the comments on my last post. Some people didn’t even knowingly break the rules and never got a good answer for why their accounts were shut down.
Oh, and Jimmy Wales (the guy who founded Wikipedia) wrote me and said, about my attempts to get my own social data back: “This is the kind of thing that I would consider to be a *benefit to our customers* rather than a *threat to our business*.”
Anyway, it’s interesting being in the middle of a Twitter storm. Hundreds of messages about this issue have been written since I first posted last night.
Heheh, here’s proof that I’m insecure. At least it’s true if you look at a Guardian article that says that research is showing that people with more than 800 Facebook friends are seen as insecure. I guess having 4,999 friends makes one really, really insecure! Shhhh, don’t tell the Guardian that I have 1,148 friends waiting to get in (Facebook doesn’t let you have more than 4,999 friends).
Hmmm, is this the first Twitter business card? The first Kyte business card? The first Seesmic business card? Heheh.
Thanks to Hugh Macleod, my favorite London artist.
What does the other side say? “You’ve been Microscobleized.” All in honor of creating my global microbrand.
Oh, and that’s Ben Metcalfe’s face.
Update: Frans says he’s had Twitter on his business card since February.
Bill Erickson noticed a General Motors ad that had my name and picture associated to it. Yeah, I love my Saturn so I joined their fan page. It’ll be interesting to see how companies and people use these ads and whether these turn off Facebook users or not.
One thing that pisses me off? Facebook is making a ton of money on these ads yet I don’t get anything for basically endorsing products.
We’re such suckers for going along with this scheme.
It’s just totally amazing to me how badly Facebook is handling the PR around its new Beacon system.
This story is NOT going away. Even if this particular story goes away, there’s a bad taste in our mouths because Facebook tried to do something that clearly wasn’t for the users. When David Weinberger, one of the authors of the Cluetrain Manifesto, says that you have a real PR problem.
Yet when I look at TechMeme I don’t see ONE SINGLE INTERVIEW that Mark Zuckerberg, or top executives at Facebook, have given ANYONE.
Hell, don’t like me or other bloggers? Then give a press conference with professional press.
ANYTHING would be better than the way that Facebook is handling this.
This is what happens when a startup gets a controlling PR belief system. Steve Jobs can pull that off. Not many companies can.
Facebook’s PR machinery is hiding its head in the sand and hoping this story goes away.
Hint: it’s not.
Do the press conference. Admit you screwed up. Take your shots. Look into the camera and say you’re sorry.
Crisis PR hint: don’t answer company bashing with text messages. Do it in video and with live events. Have the CEO do it.
Or don’t. It’s your reputation, not mine that’s at stake here.
Or, maybe, Zuckerberg is about to get fired from his CEO job? That’s the gesture that’s being communicated to the world by not appearing in person and doing a press conference.
It’s amazing to see how fast Zuckerberg’s stock is falling in the conversation networks I’m hanging out in.