Social Media took some major hits to its collective credibility over the last week as industry giants Digg, Twitter and Facebook all suffered their own separate scandals. At the forefront of public backlash was the blogosphere, with each company’s own users chief amongst plaintiffs.
Twitter’s Security Problem
First of the mighty to fall was Twitter, which was the victim of data-theft early last week. The issue wasn’t that user-data had been compromised, it was that users would learn what had been discussed at company meetings. The information was damaging in that it cast Twitter in an unflattering light, left several celebrities feeling more than slighted, and left users wondering just what the company’s intentions were.
In all, more than 300 confidential company documents had been stolen and disseminated. That dissemination, chiefly the transfer of documents to TechCrunch, has caused quite a stir on its own.
While most of the data stolen could be chalked up to white noise, one major piece of information that was leaked got the attention of everyone. Twitter wants to reach 1 billion users, and believes it will become the “the pulse of the planet” if it accomplishes this goal.
Facebook Losing Face
Facebook was subject to mass revolt mid-week when it was discovered that the company was allowing its users’ faces to be used in 3rd party advertisements. A man was presented with an ad on Facebook for “hot local singles” only to see the face of his own wife in the ad. The news spread quickly, prompting the company to explain itself. Users found that, not only were they automatically opted into this “feature” and never notified, but that in the case of roughly half of them, were unable to load the opt-out option in their browser.
Facebook was quick to respond once the matter had reached a point of sensationalism, but never fully resolved the issue.
Digg Accused of Link Theft
In the last half of the week, Digg made significant changes to their “diggbar” short-URL service. Namely, it was altered so that it would no longer be a short-URL service. When non-users clicked one of Digg’s short links, they were redirected to a landing page on Digg.com, instead of being taken to their intended destination. The change was retroactive as well, causing thousands of links embedded in Twitter-users’ updates to suddenly become hijacked. This too, lays unresolved.