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Tom Anderson, the co-founder and public face of MySpace, has been rumbled for lying about his age in his profile – he’s apparently four years older than he claims.
But besides showing how far he was prepared to go to appear in touch with MySpace's yoof audience, and being pretty embarrassing, is this a big deal?
Michael Arrington thinks so, for reasons of trust:
“Why would he do this?” he asks. “Maybe so that the company looked cooler, started by 20-somethings instead of 30-somethings when it first launched in 2003.
“Or maybe there’s another reason. Whatever it is, lying to your users, your tens of millions of users, can’t be a good thing.”
CNET’s Caroline McCarthy is pretty underwhelmed by the whole thing, asking for “some real news now, please?”
But Newsweek, no less, which dug up Anderson’s real age from public records, says “history might have unfolded differently if those first few users had known that the site’s hipster co-architect was already well into his 30s.”
I'm not sure we'd buy that. But others have read more into the story, with Valleywag saying it “would hardly make Anderson the first person to lie about his age on MySpace”:
“It points out MySpace's fatal flaw as a business. Unlike Facebook, which forces users to tie their online identities to real-life groups like colleges or workplaces, there's no reason for users -- or advertisers -- to trust anything in a MySpace profile.”
Either way, Arrington assures us that more “sensationalist dirt” is set to come out in an upcoming book on MySpace and owner News Corp by Wall Street Journal reporter Julia Angwin. Perhaps Rupert Murdoch is actually 103.