On Tech Brief today: The movie that won't be advertising on Facebook, the hack that revealed thousands of Pirate Bay filesharers' details, and how to make art with Chatroulette
• Orkut is a Google-owned social network that lags well behind Facebook in most countries. That is, except Brazil and India, where Orkut has always been significantly more popular. Change is in the air though, because Facebook is catching up fast in India, according to Techcrunch:
"In May, 2010, Facebook attracted 18 million unique visitors in India, compared to Orkut's 19.7 million (comScore). In the past year, Facebook grew 177 percent from 6.5 million Indian visitors, compared to 35 percent growth for Orkut. When the June numbers come out, Facebook may very well surpass Orkut in that country. Indeed, Google's own Trends for websites shows Facebook edging out Orkut in India last month."
Erick Schonfeld points out that Orkut can rest easy in Brazil for the moment, where it still has 29 million visitors a month, compared to Facebook's eight million.
• Meanwhile, no Facebook visitors in any country will be seeing adverts for the upcoming film The Social Network, which tells one version of the story of the rise of the site. As All Things Digital explains, you might expect Facebook users to be a golden marketing opportunity for such a movie:
"Maybe not so much. 'Facebook's advertising guidelines don't allow ads to reference the company unless Facebook has cooperated with the object of the ad,' said Steve Elzer, SVP of Media Relations for Sony (SNE) movie unit Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group, in response to a BoomTown query. 'So, we won't be advertising there given these parameters.'"
Kara Swisher explains that advertising policy or not, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is also not a fan of the film:
"No wonder the privacy-challenged Facebook is not having any of it, especially since Zuckerberg publicly expressed distaste for the film in a recent onstage interview at the eighth D: All Things Digital conference. He also told me in a conversation there that he dreads its release, because of inaccuracies in the book it was based on."
The Social Network is due out this autumn.
• Filesharers beware - hackers appear to have breached security at the popular file sharing site The Pirate Bay, to reveal details of more than four million of the site's users, according to Krebs on Security:
"An Argentinian hacker named Ch Russo said he and two of his associates discovered multiple SQL injection vulnerabilities that let them into the user database for the site. Armed with this access, the hackers had the ability to create, delete, modify or view all user information, including the number and name of file trackers or torrents uploaded by users."
Brian Krebs says the hacker and his associates realised that anti-piracy groups would love to get their hands on the data:
"Russo maintains that at no time did he or his associates alter or delete information in The Pirate Bay database. But he acknowledges that they did briefly consider how much this access and information would be worth to anti-piracy companies employed by entertainment industry lobbying groups like the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), each of which has assiduously sought to sink The Pirate Bay on grounds that the network facilitates copyright infringement."
• ZDNet reports that the mobile phone company Nokia has appealed to the Russian authorities for help tracking down a prototype of its upcoming flagship N8 phone, which was reviewed by Russian blogger Eldar Murtazin shortly before it was formally announced in April:
"Murtazin, the editor-in-chief of Mobile-Review.com, 'has been very public about his possession of unauthorised Nokia property', the Finnish handset manufacturer said in a statement. 'We have asked Mr. Murtazin for the return of all Nokia property in his possession. As he has declined to reply, we asked the Russian authorities to assist us.'"
It's a case that has echoes of Apple's approach to recovering the prototype of the iPhone 4 which fell into the hands of tech blog Gizmodo earlier this year. Nokia is adamant though that it is not taking this stand because Mr Murtazin was critical of the phone in his review. And David Meyer points out that Mr Murtazin has a different perspective on the story compared to the phone maker:
"In a series of tweets, Murtazin appeared to dispute Nokia's account of events, suggesting that he had indeed replied to the company's communications and arguing that Nokia had no evidence to back up their claims. 'Actually i know a lot about internal life of companies, so drama could be good :),' he said in one of the most recent tweets."
• Wrapping things up for today, beware users of Chatroulette, the popular site which lets you talk at random with a stranger via webcam. Notwithstanding the well-known risk with the site of finding a chat partner in some state of undress, you might end up in an art exhibition, as Mashable explains:
"Instead of being connected to another human being, the Chatroulette user on the other end of this program would just see themselves upside down, which references the mythical character Narcissus seeing his reflection in a body of water. Between February and May, several thousand people were captured for this art project. We don't know whether these people have given their permission for the use of their likeness; still, the results are interesting."
The short films have been edited and gathered together into a lively montage, which illustrates the users' response to their moment of recognition.
Links in full
• Erick Schonfeld | TechCrunch | Orkut About to Fall to Facebook in India
• Kara Swisher | All Things Digital | Facebook Movie Won't be Advertising on Facebook
• Brian Krebs | Krebs on Security | Pirate Bay Hack Exposes User Booty
• David Meyer | ZDNet | Nokia goes after Russian blogger in prototype row
• Jolie O'Dell | Mashable | Chatroulette Spawns Art Gallery Exhibit, "Narcissus"