As MySpace signals its return to relevance with a new WebTV service (just weeks after unveiling a Facebook-integrated music player), the social networking site’s former owner — Rupert Murdoch — admits News Corp. “screwed up” with the site.
Murdoch’s been equal parts amusing and fascinating to follow since he signed up for a Twitter account at the end of 2011. He thinks new tech developments will “upend [and] improve delivery, not content,” believes that Google is a “much better company under Larry Page” and says this year’s Consumer Electronics Show had “more innovation than ever, some great, all disruptive” with “traditional [companies] feeling [a] digital tornado.” But his comments on MySpace have drawn the most attention due to their unexpected candidness.
Responding to questions about News Corp.’s one-time ownership of the site, Murdoch wrote “Many questions and jokes about MySpace. Simple answer – we screwed up in every way possible, learned lots of valuable expensive lessons.” News Corp. owned MySpace from 2005 to 2011, a period which saw it peak in popularity before plummeting after Facebook arrived (last month, it was ranked 109th in U.S. web traffic).
This isn’t the first time Murdoch’s expressed strong opinions about News Corp.’s handling of the site. In October, he told News Corp.’s annual shareholder meeting that the company may have been right to snap up MySpace, but “then proceeded to mismanage it in every possible way and all the people involved with it are no longer with the company.” For someone not used to losing in business, at least he’s not in denial.
Graeme McMillan is a reporter at TIME. Find him on Twitter at @Graemem or on Facebook at Facebook/Graeme.McMillan. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.