How all this happened is a complicated tale that is still unfolding, and none of the parties involved--Anthony, the Obama online team, and the MySpace political operation--emerge from this story unscathed. Speaking on background, Obama campaign staffers are spreading word that Anthony just wanted a "big payday." Anthony in turn has posted a missive on his blog (that was originally sent to me as an email) accusing the Obama team of "bullying...[and] rotten and dishonest" behavior. However one parses those accusations (more below), the Obama campaign's reputation as the most net-savvy of 2008 has taken a big hit. And MySpace executives have been forced to take extraordinary action to resolve a dispute between two high-profile users of their invaluable site, one a passionate volunteer with a huge network of friends and the other a frontrunning presidential candidate who has helped make MySpace a new factor in the 2008 contest.The rest could be a movie of the week. Or a dark sitcom.
Micah Sifry writes the engrossing story of the war that erupted on MySpace over Barack Obama's page there, started and run -- until this week -- by a civilian supporter. It has now been taken over by the official Obama campaign and the number of friends plummeted from 160,000 to 12,000. The moral of the story is that politics is still all about control. There is no playbook for handing over control to the people, only for acting like it. Every attempt to use social networking on the internet for campaigns is just that -- an attempt to use. Says Micah: