Minh’s Notes

Human-readable chicken scratch

Minh Nguyễn
July 19th, 2005


Fox, MySpace, and spyware under the same roof

News Corp., owner of 20th Century Fox and the Fox News Network, has announced its intent to buy Intermix Media. Intermix owns the ever-popular MySpace website and, as it turns out, is in the spyware business.

First of all, I couldn’t imagine my blog being owned by News Corp. After all, MySpace’s terms and conditions state:

MySpace.com reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to reject, refuse to post or remove any posting (including email) by you, or to restrict, suspend, or terminate your access to all or any part of the Website and/or Services at any time, for any or no reason, with or without prior notice, and without liability.

Prohibited Content includes Content that: … promotes information that you know is false or misleading or… conduct that is… libelous

The political ramifications are profound, since who’s going to interpret what is “false or misleading”? That right is the “sole discretion” of MySpace or its parent company. (Sorry, just had to put that FUD out there.)

Second of all, I don’t like spyware, and don’t believe that it’s the business of an arguably respected company to embrace it. Earlier this month, Microsoft considered buying the infamous spyware maker Claria (formerly Gator). In doing so the company, which makes its own AntiSpyware software, incurred the wrath of the community at large, forcing Microsoft to do damage control and drop any plans to purchase Claria less than two weeks later. (eWeek has good reading on the whole affair.) So why isn’t the mainstream media mentioning the spyware aspect of News Corp.’s buy? It’s still a conflict of interest, seeing as the news doesn’t mislead – or does it?

Thanks to Ed Bott and Neil Turner for the heads-up.

Interestingly, the spyware issue seems to be covered better in the Vietnamese press of all places.