MySpace clamps down on users through new tech limits

Siva Vaidhyanathan says, "MySpace is slowly installing technological restrictions that will undermine its value as a social networking site. Well bowled, Rupert! My brilliant doctoral student Alice Marwick, who studies social networking and identity online, wrote this..."
So: stuff like,, and YouTube’s Flash video wrappers will no longer be able to link back to the sites if the user is using Flash 9. Generally adoption for Flash isn’t that quick – but since all users with Flash 8 currently have broken MySpace video/audio players, you can expect that to have somewhat of an effect on the adoption rate (i.e.: skyrocket).

MySpace can say all they want about wanting to protect users, but really this is about them protecting their advertising dollars. The barnacle-like secondary market sites will have to find increasingly creative techniques to launch Flash-based content within the site if they want it to spread virally.

This is actually quite wily on the part of MySpace. And it’s going to be interesting to see how much influence they have on the adoption rates of Flash 9… I wonder if they have a formal partnership with Macromedia/Adobe.

Expect a LOT MORE moves like this from MySpace. I’m aware of a few I can’t talk about that I know will have huge impacts on secondary market sites. If you work for a startup whose entire business plan depends on mooching off MySpace’s user base, you guys might want to consider diversifying your revenue streams.


Reader comment: Kevin Khandjian says,

The article you linked to fails to mention that a myspace XSS worm that spread like crazy using flash. The allowNetworking attribute talked about in the article will not block flash from pages like youtube, but it will be able to stop external flash from. without this attribute, flash is always allowed to change the containing window's location, and able to force users onto any page.

The allowNetworking attribute being set to internal will block this from happening, but as it appears, html links inside of flash will still be legal. This means that while some people will have to make some changes in order to keep the exact functionality, no functionality should be lost.

There is a description of what the tag itself does here, and a description of the recent XSS hack and how it worked here.

Christopher says,
You might want to mention the plight of Linux users who are now left in an even worse position; having only had a Flash 7 player available for Linux they now have to wait until at least 2007 until a Flash 9 player is released for them, which leaves myself and probably many others unable to watch many Flash 8 based videos, and currently a lack of sound on YouTube videos. At best, there's always synch issues between audio/video.

Link to Flash Player's product manager's blog on their promised Flash 9 for Linux plans (though they also promised a Flash 8 player which never turned up) and this link for some blogged comments by a guy who knows more about it than I do. .