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Dec. 10 2009 - 8:49 pm | 3,739 views | 4 recommendations | 56 comments

Either Mark Zuckerberg got a whole lot less private or Facebook’s CEO doesn’t understand the company’s new privacy settings.

When Facebook’s new privacy settings were rolled out yesterday, many privacy gurus complained that the default setting was for “Everyone” to have access to your Facebook profile, meaning users had to be proactive about limiting access to their accounts. The Electronic Frontier Foundation said the “new ‘privacy’ changes are clearly intended to push Facebook users to publicly share even more information than before.”

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg either missed that article or doesn’t care. Back in October, I checked the Facebook profiles of the Facebook executive team, and found their privacy settings to be quite high. I wrote of Zuckerberg’s profile at that time:

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO – You can see his photo, his networks (Facebook and Harvard alum), and a list of his 889 friends, but that’s it. You can’t add him as a friend, but you can send him a message.

via How much privacy does the Facebook executive team have?

Well, that’s changed. His profile is now on uber-public settings. I can see his wall, his photo albums, and his events calendar. Zuckerberg recently became a fan of Taylor Swift, uploaded graphic photos of “The Great Goat Roast of 2009″ three months ago, and plans to attend the Facebook holiday party on Friday night. I can even tell you where it’s going to be held.

You can check out his profile here. Here are some screen grabs:

Zuckerberg’s profile to a non-friend. It looks like most of his activity is public:

Mark Zuckerberg's profile privacy settings low

Here’s Zuckerberg’s event calendar. He’s RSVPed yes for the Facebook holiday party, Cirque Fantastique, at the SF Design Center Galleria in San Francisco Friday night:

mark zuckerberg facebook events

And Zuckerberg’s photo albums. I was able to access them all, as I assume you will be able to if he leaves his privacy settings as is. Did he really intend for the world to see him eating goat in someone’s backyard?

mark zuckerberg facebook photo albums

Is Mark Zuckerberg’s reaction to privacy complaints to lead by example and let 350 million Facebook users peruse his Facebook activity? Or is the company’s own CEO confused by the changes, and exposing more to the world than he intended?

Hat tip: To a friend I won’t identify for fear of his being subjected to the wrath of Facebook. Thanks, n!

P.S. I have a rule against publishing Facebook photos… but Gawker doesn’t. Ryan Tate gives you his favorite picks from Zuckerberg’s gallery here. Or you can just browse yourself. Zuck’s gallery is still public as of 10 a.m. EST on December 11.

UPDATE: Mark Zuckerberg claims he did this on purpose. His profile remains public, but only to “friends of friends.”


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  1. collapse expand

    Pro tip: you can see “Blaise DiPersia” in your mutual friends ;) I’m guessing he’s the hat tip recipient.

  2. collapse expand

    I stand corrected! Thanks for the reply :)

  3. collapse expand

    Great find, Kashmir. I’m hoping this is leading by example. It does seem odd to share his calendar, though. I could see over zealous fans showing up to try and engage with him. It could even be a stalking issue.

  4. collapse expand

    I think he’s got different settings for “friends of friends” and that you’re able to see this stuff b/c of your connection through this Blaise character. I’m not able to see his photos tab or the photos/videos links underneath his profile picture, presumably b/c all of my friends are plebes who are at least 3+ degrees of separation away from Mark. This is definitely interesting, though. I can’t imagine he actually wants to be sharing his photos with non-friends or even friends of friends, but he’d also have to be kind of an idiot to have screwed up his own privacy settings in the days after FB changed their privacy architecture.

  5. collapse expand

    Daveheal may be onto something. Mark and I share a common friend, so that might be why I can see his profile.

    • collapse expand

      Unrelatedly, I just signed up for a comment account and was wondering if there’s a way for me to modify my displayed username in these threads so it looks more like a real name. You know, capitalized first letters and space in between my first and last name and whatnot. Or is this a privilege reserved for contributors? I wasn’t able to do this when I signed up but figured I could change it in my account settings. Maybe I’m too dense to figure it out on my own.

      In response to another comment. See in context »
  6. collapse expand

    Also, he’d have to be pretty dim to change it by accident. When I got onto facebook a couple days ago with the new changes it asked me to review all the privacy settings, and basically had them all the same as before. To make it open I would have had to make changes, since it wasn’t open before.

    The new settings might be pushing people to more access, but only if they were sharing everything with a lot of networks already.

  7. collapse expand

    Mark Zuckerberg just addressed this very point in a Facebook status update: “For those wondering, I set most of my content to be open so people could see it. I set some of my content to be more private, but I didn’t see a need to limit visibility of pics with my friends, family or my teddy bear :)

    That teddy bear pic gets bonus PR points.

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    About Me

    I am a writer, reporter, editor and blogger. I'm an editor at Above The Law, where I blog about lawyers, judges, law firms and the legal industry. Here at True/Slant, I write about our changing notions of privacy.

    If you have story ideas or tips, e-mail me at kashhill@trueslant.com. I've hung out in quite a few newsrooms over the last few years. Currently, I can be found in Breaking Media's Nolita office. In the past, I've been found in midtown Manhattan at The Week Magazine, in Hong Kong at the International Herald Tribune, and in D.C. at the National Press Foundation and the Washington Examiner.

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    • Staying Above The Law


      Over at Above The Law, I write about lawyers, law firms, judges and the legal industry.

      We especially like “colorful news.” (Yes, that’s a euphemism for gossip.)

      Check out the site here and my stuff here.


    • Writing with real ink

      While most of my writing occurs online at Above The Law and True/Slant, I do occasionally venture into the world of print.  These are some of the magazines and newspapers that I’ve written for:

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    • Recent projects

      washingtonian issue for tsThe latest (and longest) “real ink” project: the cover story for Washingtonian Magazine’s December issue.

      While I’m usually a writer and reporter, I’m sometimes asked to play pundit. In November, the New York Times asked me to write a mini op-ed for its Room for Debate blog. In December, BBC radio asked me to talk about Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook privacy settings for its Newshour (19:00 minute mark), based on this True/Slant post.

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