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Facebook Drops the Ball…Again

Robert Scoble
It looks like the young whippersnappers over at Facebook need some parental guidance.

In a classic example of what NOT to do, Facebook (or some automated robot) has disabled uber-blogger Robert Scoble’s account - apparently because he’s running a script that scrapes information from his Facebook contacts so he can use them in other social networking services.

Sure, he may have violated Facebook’s terms of service by doing something blatantly offside but, come on, it’s Robert Scoble, an A-list blogger with a huge following and considerable influence over the influencers in the high-tech world.

If Facebook was smart, they would have tagged Scoble’s Facebook account as “important” so that if he was doing something untoward, he would have been contacted personally before being disabled. Instead, they gave Scoble a perfect platform to rail against Facebook – and let the blogosphere run wild as well.

Dumb, dumb, dumb.

2008 has been pegged a big year for Facebook but the more strategic stumbling it does (e.g. Beacon), the more likely it will be that Zuckerberg and his twenty-something management buddies will be welcoming some seasoned executive recruits sooner rather than later.

Zuckerberg is a really smart guy but he’s a 23-year-old CEO running a wildly-growing entity, and looking like he’s in over his head.

More: Lorne Feldman has some insightful and, as usual, colorful thoughts about Robert “Freedom Fighter for Your Data” Scoble. His take on what Scoble did was it’s “corporate espionage” and “dishonest and wrong”.

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  • http://www.NeverStopBuying.com NeverStopBuying.com

    Personally I don’t have a problem with Facebook acting on their policy
    Amazon/eBay/Google would’ve done the same if someone’s abusing/taking advantage of their system

    I don’t know who Robert Scoble is though
    and if it does become a big buzz, I’m sure FB will re-enable the account easily anyway – more publicity!

  • http://www.carrotblog.com Mike Germano

    Mark I totally disagree. Maybe a “seasoned executive” (aka old person) might have tagged Scoble’s account as important and granted him extra privileges or exceptions, instead of the “young guys” blunder. But it is not a blunder it was a smart tactical move that showed all the “seasoned executives” who is really in charge. Unlike many web services that were launched or dependent on Scoble for their success that is not the case for facebook. In fact his boot will not hurt the company, management, investors, and more importantly the users one bit. He violated the TOS which Facebook has to protect their valuable content, so he deserved to have his account suspended. I think they did a very mature move and sent a message to everyone that they are serious. It is easy to pander to people with power and let them do whatever they want, it takes guts to stand up and say “no you broke the rules now you got to go”

    Facebook people knew what they were doing, and they were able to send a message to the entire web community with one click, that is power. Now we will watch as Scoble (who was a very nice guy when I met him) has to deal with not having a powerful tool like Facebook at his disposal. If anything we are going to watch an Internet celebrity publicly deal with facebook withdrawal.

    Maybe the Seasoned Executive Recruits should take some notes.

  • http://www.markevanstech.com Mark Evans

    You could be right but giving Scoble such a good platform/opportunity to wave his flag is far from ideal.

  • http://www.carrotblog.com Mike Germano

    But the point is that less then 1% of Facebook users know or care about the flag he is waving. The inner circle and nerds (like myself) will watch this unfold but the core FB users will never know.

  • http://www.markevanstech.com Mark Evans

    Fair enough.

  • http://www.intensedebate.com/people/RohitK RohitK

    hi,
    Zuckerberg is the best CEO According to me as he made facebook and made it so successful. It was a place that people can trust because one of their own had controling.Adding to the underground feel of Facebook was the viral spread of the site.

    I think What he is doing , he is doing for the benefit of facebook only.