In a small but significant change, Facebook has removed the text at the bottom of all videos which provides users with a way to publicly share those videos. Why Facebook decided to eliminate public video sharing I’m not quite sure. One reason could be that they simply want all individuals that view a video to be active users of the site.
What makes this change relatively significant is that it is a move toward become more of a walled garden and not less of one. As Facebook opens up through Facebook Connect, one would expect more open sharing to take place. Even Mark Zuckerberg said last week at Web 2.0 Summit that the public sharing of feeds is possible in the future.
For the time being though there is little need for the company to have an open policy. One of the major reasons is that there is no open competitor that has anywhere near the same number of users. While FriendFeed provides a completely open feed, the site currently has less than 1 million active users according to Compete.com.
Twitter has almost 4 million active users but it’s still a fraction of the size of Facebook which continues to grow by millions of users a month. We thing Facebook would be better off if it was more open with the content users are entering. Then again, the more content they have access to inside the wall, the less that Google has access to, leaving social discovery to something that takes place within Facebook.