Exclusive: Tiger Global, Alkeon Slash Startup Valuations Amid Public Stock Selloff Read Now

Illustration by Mike Sullivan
Modest Proposals
Crypto Facebook

Facebook’s Decade-Old Missteps Should Be a Lesson for Web3

Photo: Illustration by Mike Sullivan

Once upon a time—that is, in 2011—the company then known as Facebook launched Open Graph, a way for users to carry their Facebook identities from app to app, thereby enabling developers to give them a personalized experience wherever they went. Rather than recreating an identity each time you went to a new app, you could leverage the identity you had already built through Facebook and—at least in theory—the sum total of Open Graph developers leveraging the platform.

Sub “crypto wallet” for “Facebook account” and the goals of Web3 are shockingly similar. Both Open Graph and the decentralized web constitute attempts to address the same deep gaps around identity and memory in the internet as it was originally conceived. Both aim to enable portable identity across digital ecosystems, including data, assets and relationships. And hard as it may be to believe given the tenor of today’s discourse, even the idea of personal data sovereignty that’s so central to the crypto world was baked into the Open Graph vision.

Despite the company’s high-minded aspirations, Facebook’s Open Graph efforts didn’t work. This was for a handful of reasons, some of which could have been anticipated, others of which were more subtle, and none of which had to do with the fact that Facebook was a centralized entity. That’s not to say that the difference between a single company providing this cross-platform service versus a decentralized, blockchain-based approach isn’t consequential—just that it’s not determinative on its own. The new crop of technologists building Web3 still has a lot to learn from the problems with Facebook’s Open Graph.

Get access to exclusive coverage
Read deeply reported stories from the largest newsroom in tech.
Latest Articles
 
Reality Check Facebook AR/VR
New Details on the Magic Leap 2; Twitter Says Goodbye to Oculus
A look at the forward-facing cameras in Magic Leap's new AR headset. Credit: Magic Leap.
Earlier this week, Magic Leap disclosed some new information about its upcoming headset at a conference held by the International Society for Optics and Photonics. In particular, Magic Leap detailed plans for the Magic Leap 2’s controller and operating system that make the device sound promising.While pivoting to enterprise AR to and reset its public image (so long, whimsical leaper logo),...
Latest Briefs
 
Credo Technology Climbs 17% In Public Debut
Apple Boosts Revenue 11% in December Quarter
Meta’s Kustomer Acquisition Wins EU Approval
Stay in the know
Receive a summary of the day's top tech news—distilled into one email.
Access on the go
View stories on our mobile app and tune into our weekly podcast.
Join live video Q&A’s
Deep-dive into topics like startups and autonomous vehicles with our top reporters and other executives.
Enjoy a clutter-free experience
Read without any banner ads.
Art by Haejin Park. Photo courtesy Caroline Spiegel.
The Big Read Startups Culture
Caroline Spiegel’s Porn Revolution
Birds chirp and wind rustles through leaves—the sounds of early fall. “Man, it’s beautiful out here,” remarks a deep, crackly male voice.
Snowflake CEO Frank Slootman (left) and Databricks CEO Ali Ghodsi. Photos by Snowflake, Bloomberg. Collage by Mike Sullivan
Exclusive Cloud
Snowflake vs. Databricks: How Onetime Friends Became Fierce Cloud Rivals
A few years ago, Snowflake and Databricks were up-and-coming cloud software startups that were so friendly, their sales teams regularly passed customer leads to each other.
Pinterest headquarters office in San Francisco. Photo by Bloomberg
Exclusive Entertainment E-commerce
Pinterest Has Lost at Least 7 Senior Execs in Recent Weeks
Pinterest has lost at least seven senior executives in roles ranging from creator marketing to corporate development in recent weeks as the online scrapbooking app grapples with a drop in U.S.
Art by Mike Sullivan
Exclusive Venture Capital Startups
Tech’s Great Headhunter Shortage: Employers Shower Recruiters With Better Pay, Benefits
In the middle of 2020, not long after the Covid-19 pandemic began sparking layoffs across the country, Joe Price watched as eight members of the recruiting department at an automotive software company he worked for lost their jobs.
Susanne Daniels. Photo by Bloomberg. Art by Mike Sullivan
Opinion Media/Telecom Entertainment
Why YouTube Sees Hollywood’s Future in the Creator Economy
Tuesday’s letter from YouTube Chief Business Officer Robert Kyncl to its 2 million–strong creator community—announcing that original content chief Susanne Daniels had resigned—read like the final salvo in YouTube’s recent PR campaign touting its creator economy successes .
Image: Gopuff
Exclusive Startups E-commerce
Inside Gopuff’s Ambitious and Costly Bid to Dominate European Instant Delivery
Executives at Gopuff, a U.S. instant-delivery company that has planned to go public this year, recently told investors that its foray into Europe, which began last year, has topped expectations: The business is on pace to generate $100 million in annual revenue there, or about 5% of its overall revenue currently, and is growing three times faster than it had projected, according to two people with direct knowledge of the discussions.