Social-networking phenom Facebook keeps getting bigger. Not long ago, it was the online-directory project of a few Harvard University students. Then founder Mark Zuckerberg let it spread to other Ivy League schools. It wasn't long before seemingly all college students were using it every day. And then, last fall, Zuckerberg let high schoolers join the fray.
Not all students could have predicted that when Facebook opened its .edu domain membership doors to a few well-known .com and .org groups, it would soon be open to the general public. But as the site considers a hefty buyout by Yahoo and eyes new competitors in the college space, it this week joins the likes of Friendster and News Corp.'s MySpace.com in losing the exclusivity that fed its popularity.
With that move, Facebook is also addressing recent concerns over privacy controls, giving members more options regarding who sees what in their profile (and vice versa).
Blog community response:
"Expect lots of heated debate over this move. And also expect exponential growth in Facebook's usage by tens of millions of new users."
"By morphing themselves into a generic MySpace competitor, (Facebook's executives) are playing MySpace's game rather than focusing on what they do best and leveraging what sets them apart from every other social networking site out there...I would hope a smart acquirer would see where the real value in Facebook lies and refocus the site."
"Frankly, it seems that Facebook users will threaten to leave and never carry out that threat--they're too entrenched in Facebook to abandon it now. So I expect plenty of opposition, some new antiregional Facebook groups, but ultimately no exodus of Facebook users."