Leaked IMs and backlash highlight Facebook’s problem: privacy

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Facebook LogoAnd when you thought Facebook couldn’t take any more heat, leaked instant messages published online appear to show Zuckerberg mocking users joining the social networking site (then called The Facebook and was limited to Harvard students) in 2003, and is very brutal on the people who published photos and addresses and was willing to give them out to people when asked.

According to The Business Insider, which published the transcript, the exchange is with a friend after the launch of the site:

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.

With this exchange and other rumoured exchanges of Zuckerberg’s view on a user’s privacy, it only just highlights one of the problems of Facebook: privacy. It seems to adopt a nature of testing things before changing them, or even removing them, to see if it tests the waters – like Beacon or the recent changes that have created the instant personalisation service. However, while Zuckerberg’s views on privacy may be debated, Facebook does not revolve around him (well, we hope not).

“The privacy and security of our users’ information is of paramount importance to us.  We’re not going to debate claims from anonymous sources or dated allegations that attempt to characterize Mark’s and Facebook’s views towards privacy,” Facebook said in a statement.

“Everyone within the company understands our success is inextricably linked with people’s trust in the company and the service we provide. We are grateful people continue to place their trust in us.  We strive to earn that trust by trying to be open and direct about the evolution of the service and sharing information on how the 400 million people on the service can use the available settings to control where their information appears.”