Diaspora, Facebook’s potential rival, offers a peek

Mark Zuckerberg is having a bad publicity day. Despite a flattering New Yorker profile of the founder of Facebook (both in writing and in a rather Roman statue-esque photograph), a flurry of media activity has not been so kind, The Washington Post reports. Although Facebook remains one of the most popular sites on the web, with 500 million users, there has been a backlash against Facebook over Zuckerberg’s global openness policy, and the buzz behind the upcoming movie “The Social Network” has put more public eyes on the usually publicity-shy Zuckerberg. Today, Diaspora, a potential rival for Facebook, released its open source code, inviting designers and programmers to help shape the network. It is still in a very early beta iteration and the alpha site will not launch until October, but there are signs that Diaspora could improve on Facebook and supplant part of its market share. Mashable asked today whether Diaspora would be the social network Firefox to Facebook’s Internet Explorer. Firefox was an open source Web browser that took a large chunk of Internet Explorer’s market after its launch in 2004.

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