March 22, 2007

MySpace cracks down on user-added widgets

Tila Tequila, arguably MySpace’s most famous user, last weekend ran afoul of site founder Tom Anderson, who demanded the removal of a media player and online store that Tequila had added to her page to promote her music.

At issue was a widget called Hoooka that Tequila had added on her page, allowing users to hear her music, as well as buy it, the New York Times reports. Hoooka was created by a Los Angeles startup Indie911. MySpace has a partnership with Hoooka-competitor SnoCap. Naturally, Tequila turned to her blog to vent her frustrations: “The reason why I am so bummed out about MySpace now is because recently they have been cutting down our freedom and taking away our rights slowly.”

MySpace angered users last year by blocking the embedding of YouTube videos on member pages. The site defends its actions by saying that it blocks third-party software, such as widgets, if they lead to the sharing and spread of copyrighted material.

Such moves have many users wondering whether, since being purchased by News Corp., the site has veered from its original stance of embracing its user community of users. “You guys used to be so cool,” Tequila wrote of MySpace. “Don’t turn into a corporate evil monster.”