Facebook is an online community-building website similar to MySpace. Both of these websites collect personal information. For me, my most jealously-guarded secret tends to be my email address. Thanks to a little bit of care (and another email address I use to sign up to crap) I’ve kept my spam down to an acceptable level.

Signing up to these things always bears a risk that your email address will be passed on. That’s why checking the privacy policy is important. The most important thing to check is that the policy remains valid in the event that the company is sold or collapses. I foresaw a possible situation in which the owners of facebook built up a database of several million email addresses, then sold the whole company to some spam-kings. Call me cynical if you will.

So with the news today that Facebook may be sold, I was a little worried. Luckily the privacy policy was there to save me:

If the ownership of all or substantially all of the Facebook business, or individual business units owned by Facebook, Inc., were to change, your user information may be transferred to the new owner so the service can continue operations. In any such transfer of information, your user information would remain subject to the promises made in any pre-existing Privacy Policy.

Hurrah! And what’s more, convincing evidence that the dotcom millionaires can still be made.

The owners of the privately held company have turned down a $750 million offer and hope to fetch as much as $2 billion in a sale, senior industry executives familiar with the matter say.

That may sound like a huge amount of money, especially when you consider that the company was launched just two years ago by a group of sophomores at Harvard University, led by Mark Zuckerberg

… who is now unlikely to need to do very much work again.

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