Facebook CEO Slammed 'Dumb' Users Who Trusted Him in College

An instant message transcript slipped to Business Insider shows 19-year-old Mark Zuckerberg suggesting that users of the social network—fellow Harvard students at the time—were "dumb fucks" for trusting him.

Business Insider previously posted evidence that the Facebook CEO used login data from his social network to hack into fellow students' email accounts; that evidence also included instant message transcripts. Its current story follows below.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his company are suddenly facing a big new round of scrutiny and criticism about their cavalier attitude toward user privacy.

An early instant messenger exchange Mark had with a college friend won't help put these concerns to rest.

According to SAI sources, the following exchange is between a 19-year-old Mark Zuckerberg and a friend shortly after Mark launched The Facebook in his dorm room:

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.

Brutal.

Is this IM exchange taken out of context? You bet. Could Mark have been completely joking? Sure. But the exchange does suggest that Facebook's aggressive attitude toward privacy began early on.

Facebook CEO Slammed 'Dumb' Users Who Trusted Him in College

Since Facebook launched, the company has faced one privacy flap after another, usually following changes to the privacy policy or new product releases. To its credit, the company has often modified its products based on such feedback. As the pioneer in a huge new market, Facebook will take heat for everything it does. It has also now grown into a $22 billion company run by adults who know that their future depends on Facebook users trusting the site's privacy policy.

But the company's attitude toward privacy, as reflected in Mark's early emails and IMs, features like Beacon and Instant Personalization, and the frequent changes to the privacy policy, has been consistently aggressive: Do something first, then see how people react.

And this does appear to reflect Mark's own views of privacy, which seem to be that people shouldn't care about it as much as they do — an attitude that very much reflects that of his generation.

After all, here's what early Facebook engineering boss, Harvard alum, and Zuckerberg confidant Charlie Cheever said in David Kirkpatrick's brilliantly-reported upcoming book The Facebook Effect.

"I feel Mark doesn't believe in privacy that much, or at least believes in privacy as a stepping stone. Maybe he's right, maybe he's wrong."

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg puts it this way:

"Mark really does believe very much in transparency and the vision of an open society and open world, and so he wants to push people that way. I think he also understands that the way to get there is to give people granular control and comfort. He hopes you'll get more open, and he's kind of happy to help you get there. So for him, it's more of a means to an end. For me, I'm no as sure."

[Republished from Business Insider. Photo of Zuckerberg in his Harvard dorm via his Facebook page.]