There’s a movement among some social Web services, from MySpace and Yahoo to Plaxo, to let users share data, the MIT Technology Review reports. Take Google’s new Friend Connect, a service that lets users transport profiles and connections among sites. But Facebook, for one, is swimming against the tide, working to control its users’ data and arguing that control protects their privacy.
Personal data give social networks their commercial value—such as it is—but Facebook insists it’s protecting users as much as its own presumed future profitability. "It's actually about privacy portability," says a company rep. But other companies are using standards for sharing information—OpenID logins work on multiple sites, and OAuth lets Web sites share users’ social data.