We were excited about demonstrating NewsCloud's open source capability to power personalized community news sites in the King5 Hacking Seattle News contest. But, yesterday, we saw that they require entrants to sign an 11 page contract.
The contest has been promoted as an open source pro-community contest: "the idea is to do it a in very open-source, for-the-community, by-the-community mode" but it actually disallows the use of copyleft GPL open source code (see permissive open source software license) and requires entrants to license derivative works of their entry back to King5 (see text below). Both of these points go against the very values of open source software and community development. If winning projects are open source, there is no need for King5 to require derivative works - as the code is already accessible to them. Requiring derivative works takes ownership of the entire entry e.g. specific website, creatives, conceptual ideas, data, etc.
So, with disappointment, we won't be participating in the contest.
6. e) The Participant’s Demonstration Version and the Winning Submission and all components of the Demonstration Version and the Winning Submission, including all ideas, creative elements, and any other materials and information contained in the Demonstration Version and the Winning Submission, must bewholly original with the Participant (whether an individual or as part of a Team), except that software available under a permissive open source software license (e.g., BSD license or MIT license) may be used if Participant complies with the terms of the license upon demonstration and submission to KING 5 and identifies such software and its attribution and licensing requirements to KING 5 in the Winning Submission.
10. a) By entering the Contest, each Participant grants to KING 5 and to KING 5’s affiliates, subsidiaries, partners, licensees, and successors and assigns (collectively, the “KING 5 Parties”) a nonexclusive, irrevocable, royalty-free license to reproduce, prepare derivative works of, distribute copies of, perform, display, adapt, use, and otherwise exploit the Demonstration Version and the Winning Submission and all of their components, including without limitation by posting the Demonstration Version and the Winning Submission on the KING 5 website or on such other Internet-related sites chosen by KING 5 in its sole discretion, in any manner, and in all media and formats whether now known or later developed, throughout the universe, in perpetuity, without any notice, permission or compensation (except where prohibited by law). In connection therewith, each Participant hereby forever waives and relinquishes all so-called “moral rights (droit moral)” now or hereafter recognized in connection with the Demonstration Version and the Winning Submission.
I think Facebook will be pressured to add controls for users to limit the length back in history that different groups of people will be able to browse your Facebook timeline. Currently, anyone can browse my timeline's entire history on Facebook pursuant to my privacy restrictions. But, do I really want my next girlfriend to be tempted to browse the last five years of my Facebook timeline?
I might personally want to browse all ten years of my Facebook Timeline, but I might want my friends only to be able to look back 3 months. Maybe I'd allow close friends and family to browse one year back. But, I only want to show one month of history on my public timeline, or none at all.
The creepy thing is that advertisers still can electronically datamine/browse your entire timeline and everything Facebook knows about you.
Essentially, Facebook has to constantly battle against its very nature -- its supposed reason for existing -- as a friendly place for "friends" by conning those friends (and you) into "sharing" more and more, and by increasingly pulling intel about Facebook-linked activities (e.g., listening to music via Spotify, or reading an article off-site via a Facebook-linked app) into the picture of users it presents to marketers. It puts all of us to work (at $0 per hour) to increase its "engagement" scores because getting more and more people to spend more and more of their lives directly on Facebook -- or tethered to Facebook through an off-site app -- is the only way it can keep growing its advertising business and justify its valuation.
Meanwhile, as time spent on Facebook increases, media companies and marketers have fewer (and shorter) opportunities to engage consumers off-Facebook ... because there are still only 24 hours in the day.
If you Connect to Facebook on Yahoo! News, stories that you read begin to appear on your timeline. I clicked on the story headline Cain nearly quit campaign before Florida straw poll, calls Obama a ‘liar’, but a few minutes later, the headline "Cain nearly quit campaign before Florida straw poll, says Obama's rhetoric is 'bullshit'" appeared on my Facebook Timeline.
This highlights just one of the kinds of things that can happen when news sites start indiscriminately spamming my timeline with a list of every story I read. Will readers avoid stories like "Player's nude calendar defection irks Racing chief" in this new world of hyperexposure?
While we think applications like the Washington Post's Social Reader are a bit better than Social WSJ, generally it's a mistake for news organizations to spam a user's timeline with everything they read. We recommend stepping back to the standard of requiring the user's interaction to post items to their Timeline. Some readers may want to track their history for themselves, but it's really not useful to them or to their friends to share everything they click on - before they've even had a chance to read the story.
Facebook's Timeline is opening a Pandora's box of issues ... and we think October is going to be an extremely interesting month in social media. That's when more users will start to turn on their Timeline and get a sense of the deeply ingrained sharing implicit in the Timeline.
We're a free, open source, community engagement platform funded generously by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Our platform offers features that encourage engaged communities filled with user generated content such as sharing news, blog posts, photos & video, crowdsourcing ideas, favorite places and resources, discussion forums, classifieds and lending library for sharing physical goods, peer Q&A, et al. All of NewsCloud's features are tightly integrated to Facebook and Twitter. Learn more.
We agree with Owens: "Jump on in, the water’s fine."
By tangibly and transparently showing the power of aggregating all our online activity in an easily, browsable public place, Facebook's Timeline may sensitize casual users to impact of their use of such services.
Do you want to funnel in the parts of your life it hasn't appropriated already? Do you want it to transcribe all the songs you'll listen to, the restaurants you'll hate, the "illnesses you'll overcome" (an actual, bizarre event choice)? If the notion of the digitized self pleases you, Facebook is your best new altar.
If you find it depressing, demeaning, and superficial, then frankly, you should turn it off now. Zuckerberg wants Facebook to devour and digest the world, using your life events as its nutrients, the existential feces left behind fertilizing a high resolution, pristine Timeline. His appetite's only going to grow—the question is if you'll enjoy dining with him.
They like it but it reminds me a lot of Hannibal Lechter dining on Clarisse's colleague's brain.
Interesting comments in the Puget Sound Business Journal - this is sort of what Facebook did to application developers with notifications ... which is one of the reasons we're moving NewsCloud away from native canvas applications and moving towards using Facebook as just another authentication provider:
Before, when a user clicked the “like” or “recommend” buttons on a business’s page, anyone viewing that user’s news feed would see that the user likes that business or product. Same with comments posted to a business page. But Eckert says those aren't showing up in personal feeds anymore when clicked through Facebook, though they do appear in feeds when clicked through the businesses’ website.
“The ‘like’ button is being marginalized,” says Dave Ringler, Blind Acre’s director of marketing and product development. “How are businesses going to stay in front of their followers’ friends?”
It also means businesses will have to give more consideration to how they use “like” buttons on their websites.
I've been playing with the Facebook Timeline today. It's quite cool for keeping a personal journal of what I'm up to and not really something I'd prefer other people be able to easily browse. One of the things I found particular creepy is the way it aggregates all public events that you've attended on your Timeline. In other words, it's quite easy for someone to look at your timeline and browse to see a summary of all the public events you've ever attended. While this information was publicly visible on individual events, Timeline now lets anyone see ALL the public events I've ever attended.
In order to shield this information, I went and removed myself from every public event I've attended and will not be RSVPing to any more public Facebook events.
The Timeline goes live for people around October 1st - so be aware (though you will get a chance to opt in before it turns on). Developers can get a preview now. You can learn more here.