Is Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg hunting leakers? His internal memo about CFO Gideon Yu's departure got forwarded to bloggers. Perhaps he was hoping that would happen, and not just so his spin would get out.
In her haste to get the scoop, AllThingsD blogger Kara Swisher posted a version of Zuckerberg's memo which had a repeated paragraph. She's since eliminated the repeat, but we captured it:
Catch the differences? One says "will report," the other says "will be reporting." One uses treasurer Cipora Herman's last name, the other omits it. One says "we are fortunate," while the other uses the contracted form "we're." And one says Peter Currie will be "an advisor," while the other says only "advisor."
That's not the only oddity about the email. "Several versions I got of this memo had different punctuation in various places," Swisher notes in an update.
Why bother sending employees individual copies of a mass email with subtle changes throughout? There's only one reason to bother: Using the changes as tell-tale clues to identify whose copy got forwarded. That's what Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk did recently in an attempt to find leakers. Each of those changes can, in theory, serve as an identifier; assemble a series of unique identifiers, and it's possible to trace a particular version of an email to a particular employee.
If Zuckerberg is really wasting time on games like this, it means that he has completely failed as a leader. It's a humbling admission that he no longer enjoys his employees' trust and confidence. And it's an insult, too — that he thinks his employees aren't smart enough to figure out what he's doing. Of course they are. It's just one more reason for him to resign immediately, before he does more damage to the company he started.