Catching up: MySpace adds Karaoke; Friends Reunited drops paid access; Facebook apps create privacy scare

The social web weekly: a quick-fire roundup of some of the news, announcements and conversations that have occurred throughout the last week…
Written by Steve O'Hear, Contributor

The social web weekly: a quick-fire roundup of some of the news, announcements and conversations that have occurred throughout the last week…

  • MySpace adds Karaoke. Nearly two years after Fox Interactive purchased the karaoke site kSolo.com, its feature-set has finally been integrated into MySpace. "The combination of MySpace and kSolo allows users to upload audio recordings of them singing everything from R. Kelly to Richie Valens to their profile page", reports AP. MySpace Karaoke enters a crowded space that includes SingShot, owned by Electronic Arts, and Bix, owned by Yahoo!, as well as YouTube, which is popular as a destination for user-uploaded videos of sing-alongs despite the copyright nightmare it causes. To that end. MySpace Karaoke has 2,000 and 3,000 songs available, all of them licensed from music publishers. The difficulty of managing those rights has been the reason for the delayed launched. The feature is currently limited to audio only, however,  a video version is in the works and will include a split-screen duet feature.
  • MySpace charging for application promotion. MySpace has begun giving prominence to certain third-party app developers but at a cost. For the first two days of the launch of the new "featured" section, Slide's apps were the only ones listed. Why? MySpace is in fact charging for those apps to be “featured", according to The Social Times. "So how much does it cost to be featured? My sources have been pitched to at between $50,000 and $100,000 for one week as a featured application on the MySpace applications page. This is the first platform which has actively attempted to generate revenue directly from application developers. Additionally, this could be bad news for companies with application ad networks as MySpace is now directly competing with them." My thoughts exactly.
  • Friends Reunited drops paid access. Friends Reunited, the iconic dot com, has "dropped its pay wall, hoping that going free will allow it to keep a grip on its members who are increasingly decamping to other social networks", reports paidContent. Having plunged from 4.3 million to 2.4 million users (comScore), the site's owner is hoping that moving to an ad-supported model will help stem the tide. Facebook represents the major hurdle to this becoming true, as the re-connect-with-old-friend functionality has since blossomed there.
  • Facebook apps create privacy scare.  My friends over at the BBC's Click have been exploring the security implications of Facebook's Developer platform. "A malicious program, masquerading as a harmless application, could potentially harvest personal data." In other words, Facebook has the potential to be a victim of malware just like a desktop PC. "We wrote an evil data mining application called Miner, which, if we wanted, could masquerade as a game, a test, or a joke of the day. It took us less than three hours. But whatever it looks like, in the background, it is collecting personal details, and those of the users' friends, and e-mailing them out of Facebook, to our inbox." In response, Facebook says it has "an entire investigations team watching the site, and removing applications that violate its terms of use which would include our Miner application." Ultimately, however, users are advised to "use the same precautions while downloading software from Facebook applications that they use when downloading software on their desktop."

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