Facebook to Take Ownership of Hot Potato

By Susan J. Campbell August 23, 2010

Social networking gurus who like to take advantage of both Facebook and Hot Potato will soon enjoy a tight integration between the two services. According to a recent InformationWeek report, Facebook has acquired Hot Potato, the location-based social event service that is a mere 20 months old.

In a blog posting by the Hot Potato team, users were told: “We will no longer be accepting new user registrations, and we will be offering existing users a way to download their information from the site. In about a month, Hot Potato will close up shop and delete all user data. No user data or account information will be kept by Facebook. We will be sure to keep you posted on this process over the next few weeks.”

While some may question the difference between Hot Potato and Facebook, the similarities do make the two a likely pair. In both Facebook and Hot Potato, users can share information about their activities or plans. On the Hot Potato platform, however, those account holders who are involved in similar actions are joined together in a group where they can share info and photos while also networking.

Hot Potato had the ability to seek out other users among Facebook friends through the Facebook login. Users could also link profiles to their Twitter and Facebook accounts. Hot Potato founder, Justin Shaffer, said at the time of the company’s founding that he was not trying to compete with Twitter or Facebook, but was instead trying to facilitate collective storytelling.

The terms of the deal have not been made public, however the acquisition is said to be valued somewhere between $10 million and $15 million. Hot Potato was first founded in January of 2009 and initially raised about $1.4 million. The company released its service and iPhone app in November of the same year.

In other Facebook news, it seems that North Korea has joined the social networking phenomenon. An account that opened yesterday on the social networking site under the user name “Uriminzokkiri” appears to belong to North Korea (“uriminzokkiri” means “on our own as a nation” in Korean). The site bears a 1950s-style propaganda poster featuring a drawing of a dubiously youthful Kim Jong-il standing before a picturesque mountain range and the words “North Korea is Best Korea.”

Susan J. Campbell is a contributing editor for TechZone360 and has also written for eastbiz.com. To read more of Susan’s articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Erin Harrison

TechZone360 Contributing Editor

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