Rupert Murdoch is not the boss of me!
So believes Eli Pariser, Executive Director, MoveOn.org Political Action, and he wants fellow civic organizers to believe the same.
In a joint panel appearance today with MySpace Senior Vice President for Public Affairs, Jeff Berman, at the Personal Democracy Forum underway in New York City, Pariser called MySpace on its claim to be a "truly democratic platform."
Pariser underscored the power MySpace holds as the "new town hall,' and challenged the social networking phenomenon to act lke the "democratic platform" it says it is.
What is MySpace doing that is undemocratic? Grievances include:
A Net Neutrality profile page disappeared, Barack Obama campaign took over Obama volunteer profile, MySpace blocks Revver videos, No redress available.
What does MySpace have to say in the matter?
"MySpace IS a democratic platform, but even democracies have rules," Berman asserted. In other words, Terms of Service exist to regulate the terms under which MySpace offers its no-fee services to its 175 million friends.
In defending MySpace regulation of Revver videos, Berman underscored that YouTube was built into a $1.65 billion video company, thanks to MySpace. Only Revver videos which are monetized are not permitted, as a Terms of Service violation, Berman said.
Berman indicated MySpace regrets the Barack Obama volunteer MySpace profile effort takeover misunderstanding, in so far as taking responsibility for poor communication upfront about what would happen under such a situation.
Nevertheless, Pariser is on a mission to ensure that we "own our own communities," even if they happen to be hosted within News Corp.'s community. "Rupert Murdoch shouldn't be deciding" what we can or can not do, he asserted.
In the Q & A, I pointed out to Pariser that Rupert Murdoch CAN decide what does or does not happen at his MySpace, because it IS his Space!
I asked Pariser if instead of calling upon a multi-billion dollar corporation to deliver its free services to non-paying users in a manner more consistent with his objectives, if it wouldn't be more pragmatic to spur people to not rely on hosting of their content at free-to-the-consumer social networking sites, but to perhaps pay for hosting so that they continue to own and control their work.
Pariser qualified that while he is not asserting that MySpace is doing anything wrong, in a legal sense, it would be in the best interest of MySpace to walk the talk, the social networking "democratic" banter, that is.
Berman expressd his whole hearted agreement!