He deserves EVERY single piece of negative response he gets for those comments. Even then, he was being trusted with people's private information, a trust that he not only disdained, but he openly expressed a desire to abuse.
If that were the only insights into his personality, I'd agree that "context, age, blah, blah, blah", but when taken with everything else about him, it paints a picture of a guy that I would want nothing to do with.
The real question, though, IMO, is whether interacting with Facebook is really having anything to do with Zuck. I wouldn't want to actually have business dealings with FB, but, at this point, to what extent could Zuck "fuck them in the ear" (to use his eloquent phrase)? I think the answer to that is not so much (I do have an account) but enough that I'm not going to go overboard (minimal status updates; photos are backed up not stored on FB; no use of places or likes; etc).
However, he was talking about his customers, the people using his service. That gives much less leniency, in my book, especially when everything else is taken into account.
I guess I see it much the same as I'd see an investment advisor who open talked about screwing his customers out of their money. FB's financial value comes from the data that Zuck is talking about screwing people with.
I've found that jokes often reveal a lot about what people actually believe.
I mean.. maybe if you didn't know that, this will alert you to it, and welcome to the internet. They're Facebook, we don't need to go easy on him.
Impressions matter, during a lawsuit evidence matters, this provides plenty of both.
I agree with jacquesm...this is a great lesson. Don't email, IM, text, etc anything you wouldn't want to read on Valleywag.
And don't leave voicemails about it to someone with google voice, or talk about it to someone using google to call you. Don't talk about it internationally on skype, and don't visit untoward locations with your smartphone in your pocket. Don't drive there using gps, either.
which gives "perfect" forward secrecy
For a school project I (sorta) implemented this on Android 1.5 two years ago. I stopped before finishing the key rotation stuff, so ended up with just a encrypted text messaging client. Another company just recently announced an OTR text message program for android, you should look it up! Textsecure by Whisper Systems.
Clickable link: http://www.whispersys.com/
Of course the actual GPS service, involving beeping atomic clocks in space and a passive receiver in your device leaves no trail. But everybody appears to use 'GPS' to refer to "directed navigation" applications running on small computers that like to keep logs of waypoints and intended destinations. The iPhone's Maps app even takes a screenshot when you switch away from it to make it feel snappier when you return, and these pictures can be recovered forensically.
I don't really see any qualitative difference between that and logging IMs, it's just that the latter is technically much easier to do. But as a record of a private conversation between two people, I feel it ought to be subject to the same evaluations of admissibility.
Ditto email, log files and so on, basically any textual communication is subject to subpoena, but the 'spoken word' is expected to be transient unless you have a microphone stuck in your face or have been warned very explicitly that one is present.
Warrant requirements only apply to government action, meaning the government itself or someone acting on the government's behalf. If you talk to someone on the phone and that person records you on his own, without government inducement, then the court will consider the recording hearsay but admissible at trial under a few exceptions to the hearsay rule.
Do you know whether those prohibited recordings would be admissible as evidence in court, despite being non-consensual? Or is the weight of their prohibition that they are inadmissible?
But since people are being sued and fired over tweets it seems safe to assume that those kinds of communications now carry the same weight as every other written form.
ps Ephemera, not ephemeral. Damn auto-correcting phone :-)
–verb (used with object)
1. to soil, stain, or tarnish.
2. to mar the purity or luster of; defile: to sully a reputation.
Thanks for the 'duh'. This is not a term I use or have heard used by anyone I know (well, that's how the world can be sometimes for English speakers outside the US) but I have now looked it up and have therefore learned something.
I'm saying that new hires and people whose companies remain in the Facebook honeymoon period don't know much.
What significance will this have? The lawsuit from the twins is parked in the courts, and the breach of contract one launched recently is entertaining but not very likely to succeed. When the movie comes out next month everyone can hate on the socially awkward guy and argue about whether he deserves his millions or not, probably on Facebook. I think the only consequences are to boost movie ticket sales a little and make Zuckerberg even more of social recluse. Even if he is an arrogant jerk and every bad thing about him is true, so what? Has he killed anyone? Was anyone forced to use Facebook? I wasn't, I logged in 6 months ago and set my account to have minimal sharing permissions, and I don't think there was ever much that could be called scandalous there anyway. He doesn't seem any worse ethically speaking than the YouTube guys.
The only thing I have a problem with is the idea that once you get anywhere, everything you ever said on the internet is going to be dug up by someone because now there's a market in discussing your personal details, and digging them up requires almost zero effort. There's a big difference between standing in the metaphorical public square shouting your opinion to the world (which you expect to have recorded forever, for good or ill), and saying something random in some dimly lit restaurant booth to a friend, only to have it analyzed worldwide as if it were the crystallized essence of your personality many years later.
So what now? Is everyone going to stop using Facebook? Are people going to take his company away from him? I just don't see any recourse that anyone can take other than not clicking ads on Facebook. In the end, that's all Facebook a website with ads and your friend's phone numbers.
(I don't have a Facebook account. I also use OTR for my instant messages.)
Dunno... nice scandal, but I don't think it matters at all. Zuck is human. He is trusts his friends and maybe talks him self up a bit. That's all I get from this "scandal", and I'm the biggest Facebook hater around.
The E in E-mail stands for "Evidence"
I'm going to borrow this for client use.
That, and there aren't too many flamewars.
One good that can come out of it is people will start behaving themselves online too, just like they (mostly) do in person.
This sounds like silly posturing of a young rebel - or at least someone who wants to appear to be a rebel to his friend. And that is one of the points of privacy - YOU decide which face to show to which person. A lot of the conversations that come out in this style are private; IMO they should never be published. I grant you that in this case he was talking about his business. But even here, I'm not sure I agree with the morality of it being used against him.
Impressions do matter, but the expectation of privacy is a reasonable one, that ideally would be better protected by law. Even if you are not a privacy nut, I think it's pretty clear that this allows you control over your image to a certain extent. You are allowed to act differently in your own home than when speaking as CEO. People should not be allowed to pry on one & use it against you for the other.
As he puts it, if your "private" data is just a copy-paste away from being posted in public, it's not really private at all.
I understand that having integrity (a public face no different than your private face) is better than being a hypocrite. But it's better to have real, strong opinions than to have milquetoast integrity.
You will just have to grow up a bit quicker if you plan on being a player some day.
And if you hold strong opinions be prepared to apologize with grace.
I'm quoting this from now on. Can I attribute it to you? (I understand your reservation to giving out a real name over HN. Pls email me at this username at gmail.)
Honestly if I was in his position at the same time at that same age I would have joked in the same way. I doubt his views on the matter are the same now that he's many years older and his site has a dictionary entry. Give the kid a break.
That's the exact reason a lot of people see this as such an insight into his true nature. The true mark of character is not to behave morally when you know you are being watched. Any intelligent liar or psychopath can pull that off. The true mark is what you do when you don't think the information will spread.
Of course if he did still harbor the same underlying attitude now, one wouldn't expect some youthful prank if and when he decided to 'fuck them'. You have to imagine there will be many times when Facebook will have to decide between the honoring the trust of their users versus some other gain. When these decision are made that underlying attitude may still be calling the shots.
I'd rather picture the guy as an (extremely) socially clueless but generally well-meaning person whose sense of humor might be a little off. Sure he's had his privacy slip-ups in the past but the kid is captaining completely uncharted waters with one hand and beating back thousands of influencers throwing fistfuls of money with the other. I suspect that if anyone on this board, including me, found themselves with the almost overnight success of Facebook on their hands it wouldn't be too hard to find some out-of-context IM's to smear them with either. Let he who is without sin, blah blah blah.
Edit: To be clear I'm referring just to these IM's and how they relate to his running FB today, not to whatever history he may or may not have had with other developers. I don't know enough of that backstory to comment.
Phrases can have many meanings, and it's tough to draw a conclusion from a handful of sentences. I often have IM conversations where I pretend to be someone else and sarcastically say things that they would say, without any indication of that in the text. People I am friendly with online know that that's not me, and they read it as sarcasm. Post it on a blog, and people are guaranteed to have the wrong idea.
Everybody loves to hate the big guys, but this IM conversation doesn't really rile me up.
That was written 16 hours ago and voted to +22??
My remaining har is gray -- and I'd still add such a comment as an automatic joke about anyone trusting me.
It is an obvious self deprecating joke to say/write at that point, laugh about -- and forget in less than five seconds.
That said, I think Facebook as a non-open company is bad. An application with more information about people than Google should be distributed, for all our sakes. (No, I don't have any alternate ideas.)
But damning that kid for having a sense of humor is ridiculous.
And, worse, this might force me to stop joking... :-)
I'm just curious in the event that I get pulled in to see it.
* offering the information, but hasn't actually leaked it
* offering phonebook / directory type info, which is semi germane to the actual purpose of the site, especially in the early days
Meanwhile Boingboing is making public a recording of a private conversation held over IM.
I believe at least one of the "FRIEND"s is Adam D'Angelo, former Facebook CTO and now founder of Quora.
In any case, it's not as if Boing Boing hacked into Zuckerberg's computer to get these. They're freely available.
Given my personal stake in it all I'd like to know what the rest of the still-unpublished ones say.
Yeah, but it's okay because the Boingboing offices are not bugged and you didn't get to hear the editors say that they were going to fuck Zuckerberg in the ear.
So he joked around about privacy in IMs 4 years ago. We don't have any context, we don't know almost any of the surrounding circumstances. In fact, since people are publishing these IMs but aren't publishing reports of him leaking actual data, I'm willing to bet these IMs really were just jokes.
Other stories are similarly void of content.
The truth is, I know almost no one who I'd consider a sociopath with zero ethics. The chance against Zuckerberg being one is pretty small. The chance is much higher that the media have chosen to focus on him because he is: a) rich b) powerful and c) made some moves that some people didn't like in regards to privacy.
There are, in fact, published reports of him actually breaking into Crimson reporters' private FAS (Harvard) e-mail accounts with information he gleaned from Facebook. http://www.businessinsider.com/how-mark-zuckerberg-hacked-in...
You don't know anyone you'd consider a sociopath with zero ethics because the vast majority of people aren't. Just the same, the people who up hugely successful by most people's standards, which is to say "rich," have a much higher probability of having gotten there at someone else's expense.
You're wrong. Or at least, we have no reason to believe that you're right, other than small-mindedness borne of jealousy and self-righteousness.
I don't think my comment was small-minded at all!
Enterprise is great--I'm a capitalist, too--but who are you kidding? If all it took to get rich and create value was niceness, I'm pretty sure Hacker News would be largely unnecessary.
I take issue with your original statement because I think it's bullshit based on nothing. The laziest thing to do is just assume that all rich people got that way by screwing someone over. There are bad people at all levels of society, and I have no data to lead me to believe it's any more prevalent at higher levels of wealth. I doubt you have any data either. Feel free to post it if you do, but otherwise, this just seems like another empty, jealous rant against the rich.
What I said (which also happens to be what I meant) was that there was a higher probability that someone with a vast sum of money had reached their level of wealth by harming someone relative to someone without that same level of wealth. I didn't say "all rich people." And I gave some examples to support my point.
An example to support your point would be someone like Warren Buffet, who doesn't have the kind of reputation that Gates and Ellison have earned for themselves. He proceeded to amass his fortune, to the best of my knowledge, slowly and as ethically as one could hope for. I have a lot of respect for hard-working and successful people like Buffet, but also those who are worth a fraction of what he is.
On the other hand, I generally don't have a lot of respect for people who start off on the assumption that I am small-minded and jealous, and then go from there. If you want to make a point here that's fine, just don't pretend like I've said something that I didn't.
The statement you quoted may be correct as stated, but it strikes me as a tautology (i.e. if you're not rich then of course you didn't "get there" at someone else' expense, you didn't "get there" at all).
"a sociopath with zero ethics" is a hell of a label to hang on him when you only know him through a few articles you've read on the internet.
Nobody in the public eye such as this is ever going to 'spend meaningful time' with an equal amount of people as the number whom will choose to cast a judgement on their character. So, this will have to suffice. If he has a problem with that, please ask him to sell out and go away.
Or maybe not. code duck is sorry if he was mean.
In other words, you assume he's actually a sociopath, instead of assuming that perhaps the narrow view we see from 72-point headlines doesn't paint an accurate picture of the whole man.
actors tend to attribute the causes of their behavior to stimuli inherent in the situation, while observers tend to attribute behavior to stable dispositions of the actor
i'm hardly a zuckerberg apologist (see previous comments during the whole facebook privacy hoo-hah). but wanted to point out, really, that calling someone a "sociopath with zero ethics" based on a few articles without actually knowing the guy is likely unreliable way to judge someone.
Are they relevant? Sure. Are they as relevant as if he said them two weeks ago? Not even close. People blow this stuff way out of proportion. Does anyone REALLY think that he'd leak personal information now the way he talked about in these IMs?
He has had to grow up a lot faster than most people his age, and he has handled it pretty well, as far as I'm concerned. People love to flip out over this stuff. Sometimes it's worth flipping out over. I don't see this as one of those times.
Fuck, you can tell from the tone Zuck takes with him. Zuck is nice when he needs something, and cold as ice when he knows he did something.
Pretty fucking sad and annoying at the same time. UGH!
Oh, the parent is ThinkComp/Aaoron! My sympathies dude. Too bad, you're a typical flat-footed computer programmer; how come you haven't seen this guy for what he is the moment he told you to take down the ads featuring his site? then he returns to you, repeatedly, for advice, help, testing, feedback and insight. Why did you allow that?]
I distrusted him immediately because of Facemash, and I refused to work with him directly accordingly. The situation I faced was a classic Catch-22. Had I agreed to help him with the project he refused to tell me about (which was actually my own), I would have been named (just like Chris Hughes and Dustin Moskovitz) in a federal civil lawsuit by the ConnectU team, which I had no knowledge of, and I would have been complicit in helping Mark run Facebook in a way I didn't agree with. By refusing to co-operate I became a target instead.
As someone else here said, "I've never met a sociopath before." Well, before January 8, 2004, neither had I. It's pretty hard to know what the "right" thing to do is in that kind of situation.
In retrospect, I was naive, but so was Mark. Ironically, I think he underestimated the value of having friends, and the negative value of having enemies.
I see you settled for $65MM, that's about fair, even if the lawyers take half of it.
Next time, please get yourself a human hound to sniff out people. You seem like an all too nice and too trusting person.
Still, he might have still been treating Facebook as a goofy side project at this point. And IM chat doesn't express jest or joking around.
Call a spade a spade.
For one thing, just because a lot of kids are immature doesn't mean that they have a license to break the law. Joking obviously isn't a violation of the law, but breaking into private e-mail accounts is (18 USC 1030).
For another, Mark had already been formally disciplined by the Administrative Board for Facemash when he wrote these, so he clearly knew better.
Aruging that Facebook has the right to misuse people's content just because they provide it is clearly wrong.
In addition, there are five people including myself who ultimately filed legal action against Mark and/or Facebook, Inc. because of what happened at Harvard.
Lastly, at roughly the same age, I ran the same core product at the same time in the same place with the same name with the same people's information, and I didn't do that. I didn't joke with my friends about it, I didn't make fun of my users, I certainly never intended to abuse people's trust, and I never did. One of those users was Mark and I have his SHA-1 password hash sitting in my database, as well as his cell phone number--but I'm not going to share it with anyone, nor have I ever. Clearly it's possible to run such an operation in a different way than Mark.
"Call a spade a spade" indeed.
There are people who are sticklers for every rule from an early age, and then there are those who do impressive things. The overlap is very small.
People joke about doing things they would never dream of doing. Heck, people lie about doing things to show off to people all the time - especially when younger (though not exclusively, by any means)
Are there any examples of him actually misusing this data?
You are too personally invested in this situation to act rationally.
That might be true AND still not excuse a given behavior.
If I had vast power, I too might do a number of unpleasant things too... It's up to you to folks stop me... AND I'm OK stopping someone else at the same time...
But these IMs are just typical of the immature little kid he was back then. We all say and do stupid things when we're that age. It's not a big deal.
"Addendum (8/30): To clarify, September 15 will be our open-source developer release. At that time, we will open up our github repository, publish our roadmap, and shift our development style to be more community oriented. We intend on launching a consumer facing alpha in October. Join our mailing list to get an invite." via http://www.joindiaspora.com/2010/08/26/overdue-update.html
I remember back when I signed up with a fake username, to be requested to sign up with my real name and uni e-mail, etc. No wonder I haven't really used Facebook much at all.
But, whatever he said in the IMs is just "normal" that is, just something we all might have said. So, I do not think that the lesson here is as jacquesm suggests, but rather that we might be entering an age and time when the gods of politics, commerce, science, and whatever other field are shown to be just normal people more vividly.
And even if his statements are taken literally, if the student info had been volunteered without a promise of strict single-purpose confidentiality, students should have expected their info might be shared for any legal purpose at the discretion of the site proprietor. That's why explicit privacy policies are important; at least in the US, without a promise to the contrary, almost anything goes.
At 19, Zuck had big powers and no responsibility. It's not excusable, and I'm not sure it's forgiveable either.
Now, Mark Zuckerberg has immense power. I doubt that he's responsible enough to make up for it. I even doubt that anyone can be responsible enough.
And if the responsibility needed to wield the power of Facebook doesn't exist, well, maybe wielding it at all is not excusable, or even forgiveable.
I was just pointing out that Schmidt's comment has some credibility to it. The only reason it doesn't apply to Zuckerberg specifically is because of his powerful position, however the situation is the same.
IMs are not PGP signed or anything like that. It could have been someone pretending to be him. Maybe he left his laptop unlocked and a roommate or friend typed those words as a joke. There are hundreds of things that may have happened. Zuck may have nothing to do with it.
Don't rush to judgment. Anyone can pretend to be anyone on the Internet.
If you are comfortable about the personal information you are giving them then I don't see why out-of-context IMs from years ago change how you feel about your actions.
If you're not comfortable with your own sharing then what the heck are you doing?
EDIT: To clarify -- I am comfortable with the personal information I have shared. Such comfort does not imply permission for the holder of that information to snoop it.