The future of Facebook

From an interview with Mark Zuckerberg, 22, founder of Facebook, with Fortune magazine senior editor David Kirkpatrick, comes a couple of snippets I find interesting.

Quote:

“Zuckerberg says the ($200 million advertising deal with Microsoft) frees Facebook to focus on what it considers the bigger opportunity – more original forms of Facebook-only advertising like sponsored groups.”

Observation: By “sponsored groups,” I assume he means doing things like the iTunes promotion in which Facebook users who are members of a group sponsored by Apple get free iTunes downloads each week. To me, this is brilliant — perhaps the finest example I can think of in which a marketer can be a part of something and play by rules that haven’t even been written yet. Lets say, for example, if Nike wanted to sponsor a group of Facebook users of its Nike+iPod products — I can think of all sorts of ways that could benefit all involved — and the users would never consider it “marketing” since, well, marketing is something that “targets” me and this is something I dance with. (That was a subtle nod in the direction of Doc Searls.)

Here’s another, less insightful, item from the interview regarding the ability Zuckerberg claims Facebook users have to “sequester” information about themselves, so that, for instance, they can prevent “even their siblings” from seeing certain photos they post.

Quote:

“Users are so confident that their information is sequestered from intruders that more than a third post their cellphone numbers.”

Observation: As I have said repeatedly, I am a fan of Facebook. Think it’s great. However, I would describe such “confidence” by users of the service as naive and, further, would caution Zuckerberg from heading down the path of telling the media that such a thing exists on the Internet as “sequestered” information. Sure, a user can keep information they post as locked-down as they want. But that doesn’t keep their friends from re-posting the sequestered data. For example, there exists on Facebook a tagging scheme (much like adding notes on Flickr photos) that allows users to identify other users of the service on photos they post. If you belong to a common group with anyone tagged in the photo, you can see that photo. What about everyone else in that photo? They didn’t get to sequester the fact they were users of Facebook from the person three-degrees separated from them. What if they don’t want a specific user of the service to know they were at the specific spot at which the photo was made? So much for sequestered information. Again, I’m a big fan of Facebook. I just caution its users and its owners from getting too caught up in making claims that will come back to bite them later.