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Re: FaceBook taking over the web, and semantic web

From: Matthew Rowe <m.rowe@dcs.shef.ac.uk>
Date: Mon, 26 Apr 2010 09:48:07 -0400
Cc: ProjectParadigm-ICT-Program <metadataportals@yahoo.com>, semantic-web <semantic-web@w3.org>
Message-Id: <23CC595A-B90A-456B-A114-7616B9A4EFDF@dcs.shef.ac.uk>
To: Dan Brickley <danbri@danbri.org>

On 23 Apr 2010, at 10:45, Dan Brickley wrote:

> (cc: list trimmed; one list is usually enough, two is plenty...  
> three means people start complaining)
> On Fri, Apr 23, 2010 at 4:12 PM, ProjectParadigm-ICT-Program <metadataportals@yahoo.com 
> > wrote:
> Facebook plans to take over the web, by creating open graph based  
> semantic content.
> See:
> http://blog.newsweek.com/blogs/techtonicshifts/archive/2010/04/22/facebook-f8-internet-open-social-graph-semantic-web-twitter.aspx
> FaceBook has come under fire for selling information about users to  
> marketing companies.
> Is this a serious threat to the open structure of the Internet and  
> the linked data paradigm as envisioned by the W3C?
> There are plenty of things that people worry about re Facebook. I  
> think putting structured metadata in public Web pages needn't be one  
> of those things. We might wish the RDFa markup was tidier in syntax  
> or semantics, etc., but I don't think putting the director's name/ID  
> into a movie-describing page, or cuisine into a restaurant- 
> describing page is a cause for concern.
> My main worry about Facebook is one shared with many of the other  
> huge profile-hosting and content-hosting sites: people are living  
> their online lives inside someone else's dns domain name. If  
> Facebook provides were http://johnsmith.example.name/ instead of http://facebook.com/johnsmith/ 
>  ie. spread around and portable, I'd be much happier. So this new  
> attempt to reach out into the non-facebook.com Web is interesting.  
> It strikes me as much healthier if the main Web presence for a  
> restaurant is at a Web site owned/controlled by the restaurant,  
> rather than on an internet domain owned by Facebook (or Google,  
> Apple, Microsoft, Yahoo, Twitter, whoever...). If their new-found  
> ability to make normal Web pages function like Facebook Fan pages,  
> then I think the trend over all is healthy. After all you can always  
> chop out the Facebook-specific markup in a few years, if you decide  
> you don't like them. Whereas if you go around putting http://facebook.com/yourname 
>  or http://twitter.com/yourname as your main URL, and encouraging  
> everyone to link to it, then you are making it hard to ever leave  
> those sites.

This pretty much sums up my worries of Facebook. They are now the  
biggest identity provider, allowing web users to login to sites using  
Facebook Connect and now, with the addition of the Open Graph  
Protocol, allow content external to Facebook to be associated with a  
given user's Facebook account. This idea of "Identity Real Estate" is  
what Facebook are aiming for, so that you can get the most out of the  
Web and 3rd party sites by using your Facebook identity, rather than  
from another provider. I am not sure there is any real solution to  

Matthew Rowe, MEng
PhD Student
OAK Group
Department of Computer Science
University of Sheffield

Received on Monday, 26 April 2010 13:48:48 UTC

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