Social networking software

Five Things Facebook Needs to Figure Out

4. Try testing this stuff first, next time

This privacy flap might have faded if not for four (count 'em, four) security bugs that surfaced shortly after Facebook unveiled its new "personalization scheme." These a) secretly installed apps on people's Facebook profiles, b) let you eavesdrop on your friends' "private" chats, c) leaked users' IP address information via email, and d) allowed a cross-site scripting hack to extract users' Facebook credentials off Yelp. Yes, Facebook quickly fixed them. But did anybody test this stuff before they released it? Anybody at all? Hello?

At least Google has the decency to slap the word "beta" on stuff before it's ready for prime time. Yesterday Facebook announced some new security safeguards that will help protect against phishing hacks, but that's far too little and too late.

Here let me quote both SearchEngineLand's Danny Sullivan and BoingBoing's Xeni Jardin: "Facebook get your s*** together." (They didn't use asterisks either.)

5. Humility -- you ought to try it sometime

Yes, Mark, Facebook is an amazing success story. You took somebody else's idea and turned it into a multi-billion-dollar enterprise with 400 million users. Bravo. That doesn't mean you're the king of everything, though. You'd think all the times Facebook got gobsmacked for trying to play fast and loose with people's data (Beacon, anyone?) would have taught you something. Apparently not.

But you're young, and there's still time. I have hope for you. Just remember the words of a fabulously successful Web entrepreneur, slightly paraphrased: "We're your users... bitch."

Without us, you're just another Harvard dropout cruising around in dad's Jag trying to get lucky. You need us more than we need you.

Does anybody really need Facebook? If so, why? E-mail me:cringe@infoworld.com.

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