Facebook Backer Parker Calls Site Boring, Adds Video Chat

Sean Parker
Airtime Co-founder and Executive Chairman Sean Parker unveils Airtime at the launch press conference in New York on June 5, 2012. Photographer: Kevin Mazur/WireImage for Airtime

Sean Parker, an early investor in Facebook Inc., said he’s bored by the social network. That’s partly why he introduced a new service today that allows users to chat by video and share files with friends and strangers.

During a star-studded event in New York that included rapper Snoop Dog, actor Jim Carrey and singer Alicia Keys, Parker showed off Airtime, a video site connected to the Facebook platform that includes a “next” button to find a random chat partner, similar to the once-hot online video service Chatroulette.

Parker, who co-founded Napster Inc. and now Airtime Media Inc. with Shawn Fanning, said randomized video is outside Facebook’s area of interest and the social network already has its hands full building its service. Parker and Fanning, who said they met on the Internet, wanted to make it easy for friendships to begin by connecting people who have shared Facebook interests.

“Facebook isn’t helping you make new connections, Facebook doesn’t develop new relationships, Facebook is just trying to be the most accurate model of your social graph,” Parker said at the event. “There’s a part of me that feels somewhat bored by all of this. There’s no room for serendipity.”

The presentation didn’t go off smoothly. At one point, Carrey wasn’t aware that the video cut off and continued a performance backstage, before he was called to come on.

“This is not how it’s really operating, I swear to God,” said comedian Olivia Munn after several delays, before saying she doesn’t believe in God.

Parker said after the event that the actors helped ensure that even if things didn’t go according to plan, people would still have fun.

“In the event that things went horribly wrong, which they did, everyone was a comedian, everyone was improvising,” he said in an interview.

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