"This Week in Social Media" is a completely straightforward and unbiased recap of recent industry moves and hot topics, pulled from all over the Web, so that you can go out on Friday night and impress people with how in-the-know you are.
Is there double trouble in Facebook's future? That was the big question this week, as the hallowed social network went to court over allegations that founder Mark Zuckerberg had nabbed code and business plans from one-time rival ConnectU while the founders of both sites were undergraduates at a little-known, fifth-rate Massachusetts educational institution called "Harvard." (I've never heard of it. Have you?) The judge, in a Boston, Mass. federal court, gave every indication that he didn't think ConnectU had enough evidence to back up their case, and sent the plaintiffs back to revise their complaint with "more facts."
Facebook, meanwhile, seems to be eager to push this little courtroom scuffle under the table. No representatives from the company even came to Wednesday's hearing, giving the clear message that Zuckerberg and Pals don't consider it to be much of a threat. They've got more important things on their hands, after all, like the hire of YouTube veteran Gideon Yu as the company's new CFO.
Unfortunately, the lawsuit has been getting some extra buzz because of the magnetic pull of sheer sex appeal. Two of the ConnectU founders, Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, are a set of six-foot, five-inch identical twins, described by Valleywag as "smolderingly hot," who spend their non-entrepreneurial hours vying for spots on the Olympic rowing team. To make it even juicier, the impeccably preppy, Greenwich-bred "Twinklevosses" showed up for this week's dismissal hearing dressed in identical outfits--except that one chose to accessorize his navy blue pinstripe suit with a salmon-pink tie and the other opted for mint green.
The tech gossip crowd probably hasn't paid this much attention to the Boston legal system since the Great Mooninite Scare.
Also on the legal front, YouTube representatives have said that the Google-owned video-sharing hub will have "video fingerprints" in place to prevent the uploading and distribution of copyrighted content by September. Stephen Colbert, we hardly knew thee.
Another week, another set of funding announcements: party-hearty social networking site Going.com is currently snacking on a freshly baked $5 million from General Catalyst Partners and Highland Capital. Microblog hype machine Twitter sucked up more investor cash from Union Square Ventures despite still not showing any real signs of the whole "profitability" thing.
In other colorful news, Valleywag editor Owen Thomas got punk'd when a fake tipster fed him a fake tip about a San Francisco data center outage that knocked out a bunch of dotcoms...BitTorrent proved no match for the wizardly power of Harry Potter as the final installment of J.K. Rowling's best-selling book series put a big fat expelliarmus on sales records...our own Josh Lowensohn may have written his oddest Webware review yet...MySpace claims it has booted nearly 30,000 registered sex offenders from its membership lists...well-funded Internet TV start-up Joost apparently has one million beta testers now...video sharing site Veoh selected Steve Mitgang, formerly of Yahoo, as its new CEO...start-up poster boy Kevin Rose's latest endeavor, Pownce, sang sweet songs of public APIs...and that other Kevin Rose company, Digg, ditched Google for Microsoft as its ad partner. Guess who also uses Microsoft as an ad partner?
Oh, yeah, that's right...Facebook! Yup, clearly all roads lead to Mark Zuckerberg these days. Or Boston.