MySpace Censors Content To Lure Marketers

MediaPost reports on a speech by the President of Fox Interactive Media Ross Levinsohn that they would be “tidying up” profiles which contain profanities and offensive material from myspace.com

The tidying up has resulted in the loss of 200,000 myspace.com profiles which begs the questions, depending on the influence of the advertisers, just where will the clean-up stop?

Can News Corp. (ultimate owners of myspace.com) really expect myspace.com to continue its high growth if content is being controlled to suit advertisers?

Can they also expect to maintain their current high levels of active users, when those users know they are being monitored for advertising purposes and in all likelihood, targeted too.

It takes me back a short time to when Steve Rubel moved to Edelman. The Wal-Mart story which happened the day after he jioned (I think!) evolved into a lengthy discussion about how neutral Steve could be as a well-kown blogger yet at the same time represent major companies.
In the same way, to what extent can myspace.com retain its trusted peer-to-peer status when there is such a strong openness and trust between members about to be interferred with by advertisers?
Danah Boyd wrote a wonderful paper on why myspace has become so popular and the conclusion is that it is MY SPACE,nobody else’s. I can be who I want, when I want and talk to whomever I want without any otuside influences.
Will this feeling of independence still be enough to ensure myspace retains is position once the ad campaigns really start kicking-in? Are we looking at this:


Maybe not, but the big brands need to realise that they are treading on dangerous grounds and whilst myspace are not in the business for free, that they should NOT be censoring anything.

Diversification in the network is vitally important and it smacks to me of Fox Interactive needing to get some revenue in quickly and the easiest and quickest way of doing this is to fall at the feet of the big -spending advertisers.

To succinctly make the point, let me quote from Danah:

“MySpace might be a fad, but it will fade for different reasons than Friendster. Friendster has itself to blame – it never loved its users… it never treated them with respect, or learned to understand why they were there… it never give them what they needed to make themselves at home. Friendster never learned to provide for the diversity of users it had – it wanted them all to be the same”.

No one brand is bigger than the community so they need to tread carefully.

  • http://prmachine.blogspot.com Robb Hecht

    I would like to interview you for a book I’m writing called “Life After the Press Release”

  • http://www.digitalstreetjournal.com Jonathan Trenn

    Paul

    I agree with much of what you wrote but MySpace dropped the ball a long time ago regarding this. They should have run a PR campaign to the advertising and news media arenas pointing out that they cannot possibly be responsible for all of the content and how when ads end up on a offensive page, they’ll work with the advertiser to remove the ad from the page. This problem was coming down the pike a long time ago.

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