Back in November I asked if Facebook is evil. At the time, the post was referencing Beacon which was eventually killed. For argument’s sake Facebook returned back to being good as it applies to Facebook Beacon. It appears now that the discussion has resurfaced as it applies to competition. Umair Haque states Facebook is “hell-bent not on changing the world, but on dominating it: on playing the cheesy, lame, thoroughly obsolete games of competitive strategy.”
First, I just want to say that a post complaining about competitive strategy on a Harvard blog is pretty ironic in itself. Second, I just want to say that Umair is horribly unfair for singling out Facebook. Facebook is in the process of opening up their platform. They were the first to open an internal platform and they will be the first to open up externally. There is no way in hell that Umair can expect any business to just completely open up overnight as it inherently goes against their own business practices.
Opening up businesses will not take place overnight. Right now the discussion about it is what’s valuable. Is Facebook evil for not opening up completely and letting you take your data with you (in theory completely removing it from their site)? I don’t think so. This is all part of the process, so suggesting that Facebook is evil for not playing under Google’s terms of engagement as Umair does is absolutely ridiculous. We are moving forward, not backward and singling out the one company that helped start this movement probably won’t help things progress.