Is Facebook outstaying its welcome?

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Despite the Facebook brand being stronger than ever, and the company valued at over $33 billion dollars, could Facebook be in danger of outstaying its welcome?

A combination of several interface designs, high profile and embarrassing withdrawals and concerns over privacy settings has seen public perception of Facebook drop dramatically. With the imminent release of the film The Social Network, which paints Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg in a less than positive light, is Facebook already past its best?

Facebook rose to prominence following a MySpace backlash, as it offered the one thing that made MySpace so hated – a simple, uncluttered interface and an easy way to contact people you actually knew. However, with every new sign-up comes a new problem. More and more adverts are needed to sustain the current business model, and more applications ask to access your private information, purely so they can tell you which comic book character you most resemble.

Is the time right for a challenger to the social networking throne? Enter Diaspora.

Diaspora is a brand new, open source social network due to launch next year. Promising to be everything Facebook isn’t – namely open and transparent in its privacy settings and putting the user in control. Could this be the death knell for Facebook?

Mark Zuckerberg has donated £100,000 to Diaspora in an attempt to win back some good PR, and to prove that competition is a good thing. Similarly, Microsoft invested heavily in Apple in the mid 90s to avoid it going bust…and we’ve all seen how that turned out!

Regardless of how it turns out, competition, whichever form it takes, can only be a good thing. Just make sure you sign up to Diaspora early before all the good names go!