Jason Calacanis fires at Facebook, should we follow him?

Jason Calacanis fires at Facebook, should we follow him?

12th May 2010

Jason Calacanis has a reputation of a loudmouth. That reputation makes that many people either hate him or love him. But it does make that he gets attention at those moments he wants the attention. And Calacanis has done it again, this time by pointing his guns at Facebook. As always he doesn’t hold back, but we also have to wait and see if anything will actually come from it.

So what is going on? In his newsletter, which he started when he decided to stop blogging (which in fact he didn’t, his e-mails go straight to his blog), he makes the analogy between a poker game and what Facebook is doing. Calacanis claims Facebook is overplaying their hand.

Calacanis states:

“Over the past month, Mark Zuckerberg, the hottest new card player in town, has overplayed his hand. Facebook is officially “out,” as in uncool, amongst partners, parents and pundits all coming to the realization that Zuckerberg and his company are–simply put–not trustworthy.”

He focusses on the dispute Facebook has with games developer Zynga. Facebook is trying to get more money out of the successful gaming community on its platforms and now wants to force developers to use their virtual
currency–for a 30% cut. Calcanis (rightfully) opposes to that.


Calacanis introduces the term “Zucked”: “the new catch phrase for when someone either steals your business idea or screws you as a business partner.”

He gives examples of companies who got “Zucked” in the last years:

1. FourSquare was Zucked when Facebook stole their check-in feature.
2. Twitter was Zucked when Facebook stole their public facing profiles.
3. Facebook users got Zucked when the site flipped their privacy setting–three different times!
4. The co-founder of Facebook was allegedly Zucked when he was kicked out of the company he helped found.
5. The founders of ConnectU got Zucked when he allegedly screwed them over by not delivering their social network and then launching Facebook at the same time–and joked about it!
6. Harvard reporters reportedly got Zucked when Mark hacked their accounts to try and stop a negative story/investigation about him.

Calacanis goes on for a while (read the entire piece here by the way) calling Zuckerberg all sorts of things like “hopelessly misguided”, “backstabbing, stealing and cheating” and much more.

He did it before

As said, its not the first time Calacanis takes on the ‘big players’ in the industry. Last year he aimed his arrows at Apple after Apple had banned Google Voice from the iPhone. The closed environment Apple is running got him annoyed:

To be honest, I am not sure if he kept his word there, as far as I can tell he is still using the mac-products but I’m not sure about that.

Is Calacanis right on this Facebook rant?

In many ways he is yes. Calacanis makes a couple of very good points. Just think about this one for a minute:

“People are creating fan pages on Facebook and then paying Facebook to send them traffic. Let me explain this one more time: You’re PAYING Mark Zuckerberg money to send traffic to HIS SITE.”

And don’t forget the privacy-issues. Calacanis points out that “if you’re stupid enough to give up your customer database to Facebook, he will pay you back by screwing over your user’s privacy!”

The privacy part to be honest is the one thing which ‘scares’ me the most. All the data Facebook is gathering, all the things they can do with it and the fact that their main drive is not the people but the money makes that the data is in dangerous hands.

So what does he want?

Calacanis claims the best option is a Facebook boycott. Something for example some Googlers have already done. “Stop Facebook, Save the World!” Calacanis said.

However, like in the Apple case, we have to wait and see how this develops. Calacanis himself hasn’t taken any action so it seems, his page http://www.facebook.com/jasoncalacanis is still there.

Should we follow?

Well, I won’t suggest you follow Calacanis’ steps. He’s a very smart guy and he knows his stuff, but he also does things just to get the attention. But what I do suggest is to really think over what you want or don’t want to be showing on Facebook, after all, you don’t know where it will end up…


Written By
Bas van den Beld is an award winning Digital Marketing consultant, trainer and speaker. He is the founder of State of Digital and helps companies develop solid marketing strategies.
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