He confirmed to us that he'll be starting on Monday with the title Senior Open Programs Manager. The move was first reported by Spencer E. Ante this afternoon in BusinessWeek.
Additional Facebook hires reported by BusinessWeek today include top Yahoo Engineer Arturo Bejar, former Genentech Chief Financial Officer David Ebersman, and senior Google engineer Greg Badros. As close observers of the movement to develop open technology standards for the social web, we find the hiring of Recordon to be of greatest interest.
David Recordon traveled all over the world advocating open standards apparently in the belief that an open web would ultimately benefit SixApart. By the same logic that more web use and thus more search is good for Google, so too is more blogging and more online activity good for an activity stream-savvy SixApart. But the company's activity stream products don't appear to have flowered as much as its blogging software, and Recordon's international advocacy must have been expensive.
Facebook, on the other hand, may have a clearer interest in fostering increased activity and syndication of that activity data. While some critics, including this site, have noted Facebook's tendency to both horde user data and push definitions of privacy in directions most users are unlikely to approve of, the company has also been an active participant in standards discussions concerning both data syndication and privacy. (We worry that users are being pushed to open up data that developers will only be able to access in aggregate for a high price.)
Recordon has been a key leader in the movement to advance standards-based technology concerning identity and activity. We hope that he will help usher in future developments at Facebook that will both make user data available to as many developers as possible to build on and help users stay in control of their privacy in ways they are comfortable with. That's not going to be an easy job.
Just like when open source advocates take jobs at Microsoft, it's hard to know to what degree they are changing the nature of the company and to what degree they are being co-opted.
Meanwhile back at SixApart, long-time team member Anil Dash has greatly increased his public profile in recent weeks with big posts about what he calls the Push-button Web.
Key questions then seem to be these: can Dash and others at SixApart keep pushing the Open Web agenda by bringing new technologies to market effectively? Can Recordon help the part of Facebook that favors open innovation and not just put a happy face on what departed Forrester marketing analyst Jeremiah Owyang recently predicted would be a future of big social networks "colonizing the rest of the web."
Facebook recently announced that it will be expanding its staff by as much as 50% this year, and blogger Robert Scoble notes that he was told by Google employees today while visiting that they are being recruited hard by Facebook as well.
Photo by Joi Ito.