Mark Zuckerberg called early Facebook users dumb f***s for sharing data, giving up privacy
Long before privacy became a touchy topic around Facebook data, in 2004 when Mark Zuckerberg reportedly called the early Facebook users "dumb f***s" for giving the site their private data. Although it was along time ago, in a year when Facebook was still called The Facebook, and Zuckerberg was 19-years-old, his comments to a friend indicate his cavalier attitude towards privacy of users. People say that inside Facebook, the company has built a culture where privacy and user data aren't all that important.
Zuckerberg's "dumb f**k" came while he was chatting with a friend in Harvard, reports the Business Insider. Here is the chat went:
Zuck: Yeah so if you ever need info about anyone at Harvard
Zuck: Just ask.
Zuck: I have over 4,000 emails, pictures, addresses, SNS
[Redacted Friend's Name]: What? How'd you manage that one?
Zuck: People just submitted it.
Zuck: I don't know why.
Zuck: They "trust me"
Zuck: Dumb fucks.
On Thursday, Zuckerberg, now CEO of a company that is worth billions of dollars, said sorry for the scandal that has seen a company called Cambridge Analytics acquiring private data of nearly 50 million Facebook users. Zuckerberg told the Wired, "In retrospect here is one of the biggest mistakes that we made. The good news here is that the big actions that we needed to take to prevent this from happening today we took three or four years ago. But had we taken them five or six years ago, we wouldn't be here right now."
Basically, what he is saying - and he is yang that for a while - that Facebook cares for user privacy and data that people give to it. Although, he admits that there have been mistakes from time to time.
While this is what Zuckerberg is writing his public Facebook posts, Facebook insiders say that this is not exactly how things work out in reality. In fact, Zuckerberg himself doesn't realise the implications of handling users data without care. In 2010, a time by when it was clear that Facebook was one of the world's most important companies, Zuckerberg reportedly himself changed a rule, giving app developers using Facebook platform unprecedented and unchecked access to private data of Facebook users. During Facebook's conference for developers in 2010, Zuckerberg said that Facebook had decided to give users a lot of private data that belonged to not just a user but also a user's friends. This was something that Cambridge Analytica exploited.
Sandy Parakilas, the platform operations manager at Facebook in 2011 and 2012, has told the Guardian that Facebook has been always very careless about user data. He said that he raised issues with Facebook policies on privacy and user data many times but was always ignored by the top management, forcing him to leave the company.
"It has been painful watching," Parakilas told the Guardian, "because I know that they could have prevented it (privacy issues)."
Zuckerberg in 2010 also reportedly believe that people were blowing minor privacy issues into some kind of big deal. "A lot of people who are worried about privacy and those kinds of issues will take any minor misstep that we make and turn it into as big a deal as possible," he told the New Yorker. "We realize that people will probably criticize us for this for a long time, but we just believe that this is the right thing to do."