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Facebook, eBay downplay Google threat

Silicon Valley star Sean Parker said Monday that Facebook would have to blunder in a big way for Google's social network to steal its crown.

social media Updated: Oct 18, 2011 16:36 IST

Silicon Valley star Sean Parker said Monday that Facebook would have to blunder in a big way for Google's social network to steal its crown.



"Facebook would have to screw up royally and Google would have to do something really smart," Parker said during an on-stage interview that opened a Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco.



Parker co-founded controversial music-sharing service Napster in the 1990s and his role in Facebook's rise was woven into the hit Hollywood film "The Social Network."



"It is tough to compete with network effects," Parker said when asked his thoughts on the threat posed to Facebook by Google+.



Google needs to get Facebook users to switch allegiances, then do the same with those people's online friends, and those people's friends, and so on, explained Parker, who owns part of Facebook.



A threat to Facebook is "power users" behind attention-grabbing content turning to rival online venues to escape drowning in the flood of posts, according Parker.



"I don't think privacy is Facebook's biggest problem," Parker said, touching on a topic for which Facebook has been criticized.



"The biggest problem is the glut of information that power users are overwhelmed with," he continued. "Maybe the threat to Facebook is the power users have gone to Twitter or Google+."



He supported Facebook ramping up ways for its approximately 800 million users to more selectively share posts, pictures or other information with one another.



Online auction powerhouse eBay and its thriving financial transactions service PayPal also see strong "network effects" providing defense from Google's growing commerce platform.



"I agree with Sean, network effects are powerful things," eBay chief executive John Donahoe said during an on-stage interview at Web 2.0.



Google has a tremendous online search and advertising platform and Facebook a widely embraced social platform, while eBay has an entrenched "e-commerce" platform, according to Donahoe.



"The wall between e-commerce and retail is crumbling amazingly fast," Donahoe said. "The large retailers are banging down our doors and saying 'The world is changing; we need help'."