Perhaps I ventured a bit too far out of my echo chamber, but today I came across 3 different conspiracy theory articles about popular Web companies. One was about e-commerce giant Amazon.com and the other two related to leading Social Networking sites MySpace and Facebook. Here are the gory details...
Trent Lapinski delved into the apparently murky world of MySpace and found a tale of intrigue. Well, some if it is a bit tabloid:
"According to sources, while at Xdrive, Anderson rarely showered, spent an unusually high amount of time with DeWolfe, and took the bus everywhere - despite the rumor that he was making an additional $5,000 a month from running a pornography website. However, no proof the porn website could be found."
However Lapinski does makes some interesting conclusions about why News Corp bought MySpace. Not new conclusions, as others have written similar things before, but certainly worth looking into:
"MySpace makes all of their money from advertising. Unlike some sites, MySpace has always also been a part of an advertising company so they have always designed their site with the intention of advertising. One of the key components of advertising and marketing is demographics. Something MySpace users willingly provide. This is why Intermix Media sold for so much more than their actual market value worth, News Corp. was interested in the marketing demographic database that is MySpace. Essentially, MySpace users are filling out marketing profiles that are mined by the company that are then presented as these people's personal webpages. MySpace knows that controlling content on these profiles is essential, which is why they will commonly censor anything they disagree with. Considering MySpace has a considerable amount of bloggers, this is a serious issue for free speech advocates."
Update: see this story in The Independent for more on the MySpace censorship issues.
Meanwhile Jacob Morse investigated Facebook.com and ends up invoking Orwell's 1984. He discovered a connection with the CIA:
"I'll say this one more time; I'm not a crackpot, and I don't go around sniffing for conspiracies. There are simply so many strange connections back to the CIA and intelligence-hungry organizations that it truly has me concerned. Worst case scenario: we could be voluntarily handing over personal information to the government in a clean, searchable format. If there is something to these connections, we have - on our own accord - created an extensive network that Orwell's Big Brother could have only dreamed of."
In another part of the blogosphere, Tom Owad managed to find subversives with the help of Amazon Wishlists and Google Maps. He noted an FBI connection:
"This is what's possible with publicly available information, but imagine if one had access to Amazon's entire database - which still contains every sale dating back to 1999 by the way. Under Section 251 of the Patriot Act, the FBI can require Amazon to turn over its records, without probable cause, for an "authorized investigation . . . to protect against international terrorism or clandestine intelligence activities." Amazon is forbidden to disclose that they have turned over any records, so that you would never know that the government is keeping records of your book purchases. And obviously it is quite simple to crossreference this info with data available in other databases.
On a final note, the FBI is now hiring computer scientists to implement a project that sounds very similar to what I just did [...]"
So, three different conspiracy theories about three popular Web companies. I see a movie or two in the works here... can't be any worse than the movie Antitrust, in which Tim Robbins' evil CEO character appeared "to be based on Microsoft founder Bill Gates, while at the same time exhibiting some of the trademark characteristics of Apple founder Steve Jobs" (as the Wikipedia put it).
I can see Colin Farrell playing Tom Anderson, as long as he doesn't shower while shooting the early Xdrive scenes.