How safe is your Facebook Info (from Zuckerberg)?
To answer the question, if you go by Facebook’s terms of service, you’d think your Facebook data is safe. If you base your opinion on a Business Insider investigation that was released yesterday, you’d say, not very, as long as Mark Zuckerberg is CEO, at least.
The investigation casts a (further) pall on the founding of Facebook, which has also had its going over by BI, as well. If true, the fact of the matter is that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg used login data from his site (then TheFacebook.com) to access the email accounts of some members. He also later hacked into a rival’s site, as well (ConnectU).
Additionally, BI found that Zuckerberg also was at the very least, duplicitous and backstabbing in his dealing with three of Zuckerberg’s his Harvard classmates. As most know, the classmates claim he stole their idea for HarvardConnections.com for his own site, thefacebook.com. They eventually settled out of court.
BI conducted its investigation by speaking to people familiar with those involved, and reviewing e-mails and instant messaging chat logs. Some of the rather damaging IMs, for example, with Zuckerberg speaking of Cameron Winklevoss, Tyler Winklevoss, and Divya Narendra re: HarvardConnection:
- But they made a mistake haha. They asked me to make it for them. So I’m like delaying it so it won’t be ready until after the facebook thing comes out.
- I feel like the right thing to do is finish the facebook and wait until the last day before I’m supposed to have their thing ready and then be like “look yours isn’t as good as this so if you want to join mine you can…otherwise I can help you with yours later.”
In the past, Facebook has been very clear to BI: “Facebook respects user privacy and access to site usage and profile information is restricted at the company. Any Facebook employees found to be engaged in improper access to user data will be disciplined or terminated.”
Somehow, it seems unlikely that Zuckerberg is going to be disciplined or terminated over this. Naturally, the above policy wasn’t in place when Facebook was first launched. However, if Zuckerberg was willing to break into user accounts casually earlier, what is to prevent him from doing it later? Has he had some sort of moral revelation?
Here’s one comment to a Gawker version of this story. There is, of course, no way to check the truthfulness of the commenter:
Interestingly, Mark Zuckerberg hacked my personal Facebook account for a friend of his that I was dating. I had lied to this person about de-friending him, and he called Mark to have him hack my account. Apparently Mark Zuckerberg has no respect for Facebook’s privacy terms and was happy to help his buddy harass me because the guy called me with time stamped information for everything I had done in Facebook over the past day.