by Brian Solis

The media darling isn’t such a darling these days. After the Facebook Beacon story hit new lows, press, bloggers, and users of the social network are ganging up to cast stones, call for reform, and also find reasons to “poke” Facebook.

There’s a bigger pile-on that’s brewing which is going to put the startup through a rigorous trial in the court of public opinion. Beacon, privacy, ridiculous investments which bolster a controversial valuation, the upcoming ConnectU trial, among other stories soon to develop are going to fuel the fire.

Most recently, 02138 published “Poking Facebook,” which is by far, the most in-depth article to date that thoroughly examines everything Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg. In fact the Harvard U magazine article reads more like an expose rather than a feature story.

The magazine is also hosting court documents related to the developing story on ConnectU vs. Facebook.

According to Kara Swisher, a judge in Massachusetts denied a request by Facebook to take down certain confidential court documents available at 01238.

It wasn’t enough that the preceding weeks publicly called for Facebook to reverse its policy on Beacon, which forced the company to leak that it was reviewing the program (and since has).

When The New York Times reported that Coca Cola wasn’t going to sip Facebook’s Beacon, it started another whirlwind series of speculation and assessment. Now there are reports everywhere that companies and users feel that they were lied to regarding the company’s Beacon program.

The New York Time’s Louise Story observed, “I was surprised then when I saw the first version of Beacon, because it automatically sent your friends information on your purchases on participating sites, unless you acted to prevent it. It was an opt-out program.”

In the story, Carol Kruse, Coke’s vice president of global interactive marketing, commented, “I, like you, certainly understood that it would be opt-in. That’s what I heard before as well as what I heard on the 6th.”

All of this on the heels that Facebook is raking in investments hat fortify its lofty $15 billion valuation, and reports are, that they’re not done fund raising.

The next few months will be particularly decisive for Facebook and its still bright future. It’s going to come down to whether or not Mark Zuckerberg is or isn’t the next Bill Gates. The only way we’ll know will be rooted in the decisions and statement he makes about the company’s immediate intentions, policies, and direction for growth and his ability to learn from mistakes.

On a side note, if you’d like to join in on the story of who really invented Facebook, visit We all know it was really you anyway…

Connect on Twitter, Jaiku, Pownce or Facebook.

About the Author:

Brian Solis

Brian Solis is principal at Altimeter Group, a research-based advisory firm. Solis is globally recognized as one of the most prominent thought leaders and published authors in new media. A digital analyst, sociologist, and futurist, Solis has studied and influenced the effects of emerging media on business, marketing, publishing, and culture. His current book, Engage, is regarded as the industry reference guide for businesses to build and measure success in the social web.

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