It’s 2021 and MySpace has kind of ended up in the Saturday Night Live cold open.
With Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen in the news after her testimony in front of Congress on Tuesday, SNL decided to seize the opportunity and excoriate old senators disconnected for asking stupid questions of Haugen.
The punchline at the end involves an appearance by actor Pete Davidson playing MySpace’s “King of Social Media OG” Tom Anderson.
The SNL the live audience erupted in glee as Davidson appeared onscreen depicting Tom in his classic MySpace avatar with his white t-shirt, face turned towards the camera, standing in front of a whiteboard.
“I’m Tom from MySpace,” Davidson says. ” You remember me ? I was harmless.
Truly? MySpace was harmless?
Listen, I get it. It’s a joke about a comedy. An appearance by Tom apparently gave audiences in the studio what they wanted and everything matched the sketch. If that was it, too bad.
It’s a bizarre reinvention of the days when a social media company wasn’t looking to make a profit, sell users, and retire after making a modest amount of money.
And it is as bad as it can be.
One of the most common points of criticism for Facebook and other modern social media platforms revolves around user data. These companies collect information about you and attract advertisers with all of this lucrative information.
My space collection your data for the ads too. You have filled out these profiles, provided the company with your personal information, many of you have even expressed your hearts on this website with much more than your name, age and location.
What did Tom from MySpace do with your precious personal data? He handed it all over to Rupert Murdoch, the guy who runs Fox News, for a salary of $ 580 million.
Funny enough, after a series of subsequent acquisitions over the years, your MySpace data (or whatever is left of it – we’ll get to that in a moment) is in the hands of a advertising technology company called Viant.
As for the type of access that advertisers had to your data: quite that they could personally identify each individual by full name with only a user ID.
And remember these stories on Facebook employees who spy on its users? MySpace employees Do it too much.
It’s not just about data privacy. Many of today’s social media evils actually date back to Tom’s creation.
Where do you think the toxic social media culture came from? MySpace was one of the earliest examples of a web platform creating problematic internet celebrities. Jeffree Star, the controversial makeup artist who was accused of sexual assault, is the perfect example of someone who is someone thanks to MySpace.
The latest Senate Facebook hearing on child safety on its platforms, SNLThe punchline of “Tom from MySpace” is even more wacky. When it comes to the harm social media does to young people, MySpace is the OG.
For years, MySpace has had issues with sex offenders using the platform to prey on children. There were stories of teenagers being assaulted in real life by adults encountered on the platform. Tackling the problem on MySpace was one of the spearheads of then Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal. If the name sounds familiar to you, it’s because Blumenthal is currently a sitting US Senator, the one who went viral for misunderstanding the term “finsta” during the recent Facebook hearing.
MySpace was also teeming with models posting the same type of problematic body image content that can be found on Instagram today. Are we seriously going to claim that a site known for its emo users and stage kids didn’t have self-harm issues? Young suicidal the girls on the platform were also a huge media problem at the time. In well documented case, a 49-year-old mother was tried on MySpace bullying charge that allegedly resulted in the suicide of a 13-year-old girl.
Of course, depression and self-harm weren’t MySpace issues. But the idea that these problems did not exist with MySpace is out of touch.
In 2020, when one of these MySpace quality tweets went viral, Vice pointed out how we – the old MySpace user base – were just younger back then and chose to remember only the good memories.
Nostalgia has an amazing way of changing the way we remember things from the past. In the SNL sketch, Davidson went on as MySpace’s Tom by saying that they barely maintain the website, and you should “drop by and check out your friends group from 20 years ago.”
But here’s the weird part: Have you been to MySpace in recent years? SNL clearly didn’t because you can’t even do that! In 2019, MySpace said “Screw your nostalgia” when its current owners rebooted the platform and deleted 12 years of photos, music and more.
Today you can go to Facebook or Twitter or any modern social media platform and request a nice archive of all your data – posts, photos, videos, etc. – so you can access it offline no matter what happens to these platforms. MySpace didn’t even bother to warn you that it was ransacking your memories. Your group of friends from 20 years ago had better have copies of their recordings because their music on MySpace is long gone.
MySpace shouldn’t get a pass because today’s platforms are worse off, or because certain issues weren’t there at the height of MySpace. Tom took his money and fucked himself, giving up all responsibility for the monster he created. It is not something to admire.
Tom from MySpace was not your friend. In fact, Tom from MySpace sold you.