Open Source Software Takes on Facebook in Social Media Market Jun09


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Open Source Software Takes on Facebook in Social Media Market

Us humans are social creatures that like to share with others. But we also can be very private, judiciously deciding to whom we share things with. So its not surprising that social media is the hottest thing to hit the Internet in the 21st Century, as well as the one of the most controversial. With social media software users are able to share information to the world. Leading the social media software bonanza so far has been Facebook. While the Internet star is used by millions and is still growing, its ascension however has come with pretty heady criticism concerning privacy and the use of people’s personal information. Primarily, users are concerned over the ownership on their personal information-the pictures they upload, the messages they post, their location, etc. By using Facebook software to share that information with your friends it becomes owned by Facebook, not you. That information is available for anyone to see, not by your choice. In addition, this information is passed along to advertisers and other marketing firms to specifically target you with products based on that information. Plus, the privacy controls for the networking site are vague and limited. This has caused a major backlash from users across the Internet. Even Facebook’s very own users have created online groups protesting its practices, somewhat ironically, on Facebook. But like other major issues across the Internet, open source software is there to pick up the slack from proprietary. One social media software project that will be hitting the market soon is Diaspora. It’s goal is to cover two of Facebook’s weaknesses by giving much more control to the user. This includes control over their personal information. Instead of using a third party to connect and share with friends the software will put them in touch directly keeping that information in the hands of the user, giving only the user the power to allow access to that information. The second area for improvement is an open source fan’s favorite, customization, as the source code will be the one thing available for anyone to see.