Facebook is a currently popular site with very personal information stuck in the crosshairs of dueling expectations.
The Canadian Inquisition is, for all the heated rhetoric attached to it, not that big a deal. Canadian authorities want to use Facebook to set rules it thinks it can then force the rest of the Net to adopt.
Canada is using Facebook the way Europe used Microsoft. Pound the lead dog and the rest will follow.
They may have felt moved to act because Facebook users in Canada are now using it for political action. But their complaints represent a willful misunderstanding of the Web's very nature.
Supposedly people who post to a "social network" site don't know this. But supposedly those who saw Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson's Super Bowl show were scarred for life. Supposedly ain't is.
Of far more interest to me is Facebook's attempt to control its open source future, mainly under the Common Public Attribution License (the badgeware license) approved by the OSI after submission by SocialText.
And here he go into the weeds again, because while Google, MySpace and Yahoo have won headlines for their OpenSocial initiative, they have yet to choose a license for the code, and Google is notoriously against closing the SaaS loophole.
So expect another year in the arcana of license language, and another year of government trying to stuff the Web into a box by kicking a prominent vendor, while all the digerati move on...to Plurk?
Which is the real bottom line. We continue to treat Web sites and Web businesses as enormous institutions when they're really today's favorites by word of mouse. Try to capture us by bottling the site and we're gone.
Facebook, governments, the media, we're all just trying to catch water in our hands.