MySpace's new privacy pitch: Too little, too late

MySpace is hoping by offering better privacy controls than Facebook it can get its mojo back. Fat chance!

MySpace is using Facebook's privacy fiasco for a little free publicity, announcing a one-click privacy feature that seems more like an attention grab than an actual play for Facebook users.

By pressing a single button, MySpace users can hide their entire profile to everyone but their friends. The feature will be implemented in a couple of weeks.

It's a great idea, and one that Facebook should use in addition to its labyrinthine maze of granular controls, but don't think this means MySpace is gearing up to fight Facebook in earnest. It can't, and it won't.

MySpace already conceded its war with Facebook. Last October, then-chief executive Owen Van Natta said the site would become a Web content portal for music, video and games. Van Natta resigned in February, but the idea of a new strategy remains. The site's new co-presidents, Mike Jones and Jason Hirschorn, want to make MySpace a place to discover all sorts of new content, from music to games, and even friends.

So, the thrust behind MySpace's privacy announcement is not to convert people from Facebook, but to remind people that MySpace still exists, and to check it out. The old rivalry is rekindled for just long enough to get some attention.

Not that it'll work. The pitch conveniently forgets that MySpace's issues had little to do with privacy, and had a lot to do with spam, hacks and malware that seemed to overrun the site. I'm not sure that people will forgive and forget so quickly.

More importantly, MySpace doesn't do a good job selling itself, at least not to me. I had a MySpace account, and closed it after getting one spam e-mail too many. Going back, it's not clear why I should set up a new account. There's a big banner for an app called "Fame Turns Me On," which you can't actually use without signing in, and little else to draw the eye. If this is content portal, where's the content?

MySpace is still in flux. I don't think the site has fully fleshed out the strategy its new co-presidents envisioned, and at the very least it doesn't make a compelling case to new visitors. So while a change to privacy settings in the wake of Facebook's troubles is opportunistic, it couldn't have come at a worse time.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags internet privacyMySpaceFacebook

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jared Newman

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Deals on Good Gear Guide

Deals on Good Gear Guide

Latest News Articles


GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy


First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni


For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell


The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi


The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott


My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.


Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?