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Twitter, Facebook Heads at Odds?

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Twitter co-founder Evan Williams is getting frustrated with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

Williams sat for the final interview session at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco on Wednesday (Nov. 17). When asked about why Twitter has not been able to fully integrate its product with Facebook (users can import Tweets into Facebook, but it doesn’t work the other way around), Williams said, “You’d have to ask Mark that. Mister Opportunity.”

The conference’s host John Battelle then asked Williams whether that situation frustrated him. “Sure,” said Williams. “We’d like our users to be able to tap into Facebook…I understand their position. They see their social graph as their core asset[.]...We’re talking to them often, [and] neither side has found a way to do that.”

On the other hand, Williams would appear to have little to complain about, given that, by his account, Twitter's recently introduced ad products (like Promoted Tweets) are selling like gangbusters. “I can tell you our biggest challenge is [that] there is way too much demand for the supply,” said Williams. Twitter is currently running campaigns with 40 advertisers, and should be working with 100 by year’s end.

“The math looks good,” he said. “Most advertisers are coming back and want to buy more. We’re optimistic...we know we are also at the very beginning. There’s a million ways to make money on Twitter, and we’ll probably try to make more.”

Williams was just one of several headliners to appear during the final day at Web 2.0. Another highlight was a conversation with Julius Genachowski, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission. One of the things that could be gleaned from that interview: don’t expect the FCC to take up the online privacy battle anytime soon. That’s the new Congress’ issue.

Indeed, Genachowski seemed to quash fears that a regulation-minded federal government would be a hefty threat to companies that make their living targeting consumers online. The chairman said his office was more focused on monitoring abuses of broadband and wireless spectra, not companies that market online.

“Our role extends to the providers of wireless and wired broadband services,” he said. "It’s about spectrum—if [companies or people] misuse that, it’s in our jurisdiction[.]…In the areas that we touch, we are staying on top of it: We’re monitoring it.”

However, regarding tracking specific online companies: “That’s not something we’re directly engaged with.”

The new Republican-controlled Congress has vowed to pick up the privacy mantle, and some have suggested that lawmakers might look to instill some sort of Internet version of the do-not-call registry.

As if that wasn’t enough for online marketers, advertisers and e-commerce vendors to worry about, many have worried that a heavy-handed FCC might represent a dual front. But when asked about privacy, a generally guarded Genachowski hardly sparked to the topic.

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