On Monday, internet entrepreneur Sean Parker took the stage at at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco to talk about Facebook's challenges, the changing music industry and his alleged brawl with Mark Zuckerberg. The former Facebook president wasn't scheduled to speak but stepped in at the last minute to replace Zynga CEO Mark Pincus, who dropped out of the conference on Friday amid worried chatter about Zynga's upcoming IPO announcement.
During his interview Parker shrugged off interviewer John Battelle's questions about Facebook's privacy problems.
“Look, there is good creepy and there’s bad creepy. Today’s creepy is tomorrow’s necessity.” Parker said, according to Tech Journal South.
He went on to describe what he sees as the real problem plaguing Facebook: The lack of tools to help users filter the information they transmit and receive.
The Telegraph quoted Parker thus: "I think Facebook’s biggest problem is the glut of information that Facebook’s power users are overwhelmed with… [Facebook] needs to address the need of power users to have more controls."
According to the Telegraph, he also expressed concern that "power users" who contribute "tons of content to Facebook which is being consumed by everyone else” were becoming fed-up by the lack of information filtration on Facebook and were moving to Twitter or Google+.
While Parker may have paid lip-service to other social networks, he didn't exactly seem worried about Facebook's future. According to AdWeek, at one point in the interview, he remarked, "Facebook would have to screw up royally" to lose its market share.
Parker, who co-founded music-sharing service Napster and is a Spotify investor, also talked extensively about Spotify's deep integration with Facebook, as well as the future of the music industry. According to Parker, the Spotify-Facebook partnership makes it easy for users to share music with their network, something that he sees at the heart of what Facebook is about.
"We didn't see [Facebook] as this network of profiles. We saw it as a way of disseminating media," Parker remarked about the Facebook platform.
He also criticized record labels for their bureaucracy and inability to adapt, saying that thanks to digital distribution services like MySpace and Spotify, bands no longer need to pay a third party to get their music into the ears of the masses. At one point during the interview, Parker said, “I’m not actually sure why you would sign up with a record label. Unless you're desperate for money, or you're on skid-row, and you've got a heroin problem."
The billionaire, whose reputation is allegedly less-than-sterling, also took the opportunity to refute a recent New York Post story claiming that he and Mark Zuckerberg had gotten into a "boozy fight" in front of a Hollywood club over Spotify's Facebook partnership. As reported by The Telegraph, Parker said, "It was wrong on so many accounts – we weren’t even at the place they claimed..." But he ultimately laughed off the rumor saying, "I do end up generally being the victim of these platforms I had something to do with creating."