back to article Facebook founder called trusting users dumb f*cks

Loveable Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg called his first few thousand users "dumb fucks" for trusting him with their data, published IM transcripts show. Facebook hasn't disputed the authenticity of the transcript. Zuckerberg was chatting with an unnamed friend, apparently in early 2004. Business Insider, which has a series …


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  1. John Tserkezis

    Dumb f*cks?

    He was right.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: He was right.

      first time for everything.

    2. sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD
      Thumb Up

      I would have said...

      They were f*ckwits, but dumb f*cks's just as good.

      ((Upvoting you for being the first, btw)

  2. ScioScio

    I agree

    I have often thought of Facebook and other social not-working sites as just a discoverable email account. Not a lot of people remember this but Hotmail actually has (or at least had) a directory of all users. You could put your name in and so on and were only able to browse the directory if you put yourself on it. It was pretty much the same thing as Facebook but the functionality was hidden away (Microsoft obviously didn't realize the potential) and this was in 1997.

    I think the only sensible way to use Facebook is to put a single photo, and some other brief details so someone can find you and then turn *everything* else off and just use it give out your email address to those you accept as friends.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      i tried this

      It's a good idea, but try it. I consider myself pretty computer literate, but I tried to "lock down" my account on several occasions, only to find each time that I'd "done it wrong" somehow when my settings were seemingly ignored. The last straw was a bunch of photos of me, tagged by someone else and duly distributed to everyone I'd ever met, shitfaced and chatting up what looked like a pair of balls in a hat.

      1. Jimbo 6

        "pair of balls in a hat"

        You, sir, owe me a new keyboard.

    2. Danny 14


      but when there is an "upgrade" to facebook, all of your "offs" turn back to "ons" hence the bots grab all your details.

      The only way to win is not to play.

      1. Nexox Enigma


        """The only way to win is not to play."""

        That's what I do. Now I only have to worry that someone else with the same (or similar) name as mine posts something distasteful and some future potential employer assumes it's me. Last time I used facebook (some time before they allowed you to upload more than one picture) there were at least a few others out there with the same name, now I assume there are quite a few more, seeing as how they let anyone on now.

        So technically, there's always a way to lose.

        1. DaveyDaveDave

          @Nexox Enigma

          I think I'd consider it a lucky escape for a potential employer to pass me over after finding someone with the same name as me on a social networking site.

          If someone isn't (a) intelligent enough to recognise that sometimes two different people can have the same name or (b) permissive enough to accept that different people enjoy different things and that a person's hobbies will not necessarily have any reflection on his/her ability to work well, then I really don't want that person as my boss!

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      I'm not sure it was microsoft running hotmail in 1997.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        It was also one of the first free e-mail providers. It was subsequently acquired by Microsoft in 1997 for an estimated $400 million, and shortly after it was rebranded as "MSN Hotmail".

    4. LinkOfHyrule

      Personal Logs

      I think the only sensible way to use facebook is to not use it. True friends will still be your friend no matter what, you don't need to post status messages about the length and thickness of your logs to each other to maintain a relationship. Then again, maybe that's why facebook didn't really work out for me ;o)

  3. David Webb


    Having all that information available is one thing, but the ability to search through it is another. Even with the default settings it's hard to just find "someone" unless you know their name, and even if you know their name you need a lot of personal information to be able to find them in the first place.

    For instance, say you want to find John, no last name, you can't remember it, all you remember is John was born in 1985 and is somewhere in England, it's practically impossible for you to find that particular John, you can search for John and get 500 results out of 89692345 and go through each of them, but yeah, the data without the ability to search through that data kind of helps?

    Unless anyone can point me out how you can narrow down the search result to John, born in 1985 and from, say, Blackpool.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      You missed out one thing

      You assumed John from Blackpool wanted to be found to start with.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Big Brother

        Especially not by David Webb...

        People he goes looking for have a tendency to expire shortly thereafter.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: David Webb

      There are already sites to aggregate and sort through personal data scraped from social networks and they're only going to get bigger in the foreseeable future. The worst part is, once your data is on them, any semblance of control you once had over it is well and truly gone. Just as bad as that, perhaps, is the fact that very few people imagined their data could end up all over the internet in the first place. Facebook sure as hell isn't going to tell them.

      It's not particularly important for criminals to find a particular John anyway, all they need is ANY John trusting and naive enough to post his personal shit all over the internet and they have the beginnings of a tasty scam, potentially.

    3. John Lilburne

      Ha Ha ha

      I put my thunderbird address book into the thing the other day and coughed up a whole bunch of accounts of people that I may have had a couple of email exchanges with years ago. No doubt companies are sticking their client email lists into the darned thing too. Spammers are putting their auto-generated email list in too.

    4. LinkOfHyrule

      title goes here apparently

      Thanks to facebook, you can actually find some people with a simple google search these days - especially if they have an uncommon name, and even if they don't, knowing what they look like and their rough location can help narrow down the field. And the people you can find are in the main blissfully unaware of this, thanks to FB's robust user controls - yeah right!

      Kind of dose exactly what it says on the tin in that respect - phone book - a book of names and phone numbers - facebook - a book of names and faces!

  4. Anonymous Coward


    I read the storey of Facebooks creation, Mark Zuckerberg sounds like a complete twat.

    A dishonest wanker who will lie and stab anyone in the back aslong as it makes him look good.

    Unsavioury doesn't cover it.

    1. Anonymous Coward


      I'll say - clock the bible quotes for confirmation

    2. sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD
      Thumb Up


      but that doesn't change the truth of his alleged statement.

  5. Fork
    Big Brother

    What has everyone been up to...

    ... that makes them so paranoid about a stranger perhaps seeing a picture of them, or even their email address? What's the worst that's going to happen? I'm going to get an email. Scary. If it's complete spam I trust the almighty G to chuck it in the spam bin, in the very unlikely event its not, I'll delete it.

    Most of the things I could learn about somebody from FB, I could learn about them from sitting next to them randomly on a bus. What they look like, the music they're listening to on an iPod, and in more cases than not, at least the broad industry in which they work, by their clothing and demeanor.

    I don't really care about the privacy of most of my data. Hey, I might even get advertised at with something that I'd like to buy but didn't know existed.

    And if you REALLY do care, there are options in Facebook to decide the amount of privacy you want on ALL the data on your profile. So what if the default options are not so private, it's YOUR responsibility. The default direction of a car is straight ahead, but we wouldn't blame the manufacturers if we failed to steer, and crashed into a wall.

    In essence, can YOU ALL STOP BLOODY WHINGING! :)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      What we're worried about....

      is some conniving scam artist who might be able to blackmail you for something you have or even haven't done but they may be able to paint it that way.

      It only takes one pr*ck who you've pi**ed off or who sees some opportunity to get some cash or advantage at your expense and you're screwed. Believe it or not, there are some right nasty bar stewards out there.

      I'll continue being paranoid thanks.

    2. MinionZero

      @"What's the worst that's going to happen"

      You sir are a 24 carat gold plated moron.

      I'm sure many of us could explain at great length how you are so wrong in so many ways, but whats the point. The mere fact you are *still* so ignorant is proof enough that anything people say will be ignored by you.

      Throughout history it has always been the ignorant bystanders like you who are part of the problem. Because your kind let society get ever more messed up, because they fail to see what is happening until its to late, because ultimately they refuse to learn and so remain stuck in their preconceived ideas. If you spent less time laughing at people and more time in learning, you would find the answers for yourself. But then your kind never do.

      So just go back to sleep.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      This is where you put a title

      I am not worried about what I put up on social networking sites. I am more worried about what other people I know put up about me on these sites. It is hard enough for me to keep friends (real people, not people you know on facebook) from putting info about me on line, I don't need Zuc & Co. to assist in spreading it around.

    4. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: What has everyone been up to?

      "So what if the default options are not so private, it's YOUR responsibility. The default direction of a car is straight ahead, but we wouldn't blame the manufacturers if we failed to steer, and crashed into a wall."

      Since you ask, some posts just prior to yours assert that every time Facebook upgrades their system, the car reverts to a sharp left turn. I'm too much of a paranoid wimp to even be on facebook, so I have no idea if this is actually true, but if it is then it certainly answers your question.

      Hope this helps.

    5. Captain Thyratron

      Good for you.

      How many strangers would you like to be able to sit next to you simultaneously on a bus? On a real bus, geometry imposes a limit. The internet has no analogue of this limit.

      If you've nothing to hide, then why do you close the bathroom door when you're on the shitter?

      Arguably, the ultimate solution is not to spew personal information about oneself onto the internet. However, any place that purports to respect users' privacy ought to do as they say. Sure, the default direction of a car is straight forward, but the thing ought to steer when you turn the wheel. Notice how The Register promises not to give out your e-mail address to people. How would you like it if, this assurance in mind, they happened to give your e-mail address to a Moscow man in a suit whom you've never met? Surely you would celebrate this action and condemn anybody in the same boat who had the nerve to complain.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        We don't close the door!

        Some of us are so paranoid and anally-retentive, we don't have to even go!

        If you like FB and you're aware of the risks, good luck to you. Me, I have a limited circle of true friends I can rely on and meet in the flesh. Thanks for the use use of FB, but for the moment the price of admission is just a little too high.

    6. Intractable Potsherd

      @ Fork...

      You don't seem to realise that there are some of us that do not use public transport for exactly the reason you mention! If I need to, I do not take music players, a book, or anything else that will give away information. I have yet to get my wife to realise that I do not talk whilst on public transport because of the nosey bastards sitting around me, and that I'd prefer it if she didn't talk about anything other than what is happening there and then, though. I can also guarantee that when I need to catch the bus neither you nor anyone else would be able to tell what I do for a living.

      Is this paranoid? Maybe to some - I just think it is sensible and careful.

      (Can you guess if I have a farce-book account??)

  6. Mike Hanna

    He's right

    So many people on FB install 3rd party apps that ask if it okay that they are given access to all the information you hold dear and click accept unquestioningly = dumb f*cks. Someone showed me a FB app which changes all the text on the screen into Pirate Speak or some such sh1t. She wasn't happy when I pointed out that it was probably translated centrally rather than locally, meaning every action that went through her FB screen also went through some random programmer's computer too.

    If you were to search FB for me you'd get no info other than a photo unless you were a friend. However, iPhone and BlackBerry Apps seem to ignore that preference I (and others) specifically selected and pass out pretty much everything to anyone...

    1. Alastair 7

      Re: He's right

      ...but you're wrong.

      " Someone showed me a FB app which changes all the text on the screen into Pirate Speak or some such sh1t. She wasn't happy when I pointed out that it was probably translated centrally rather than locally"

      It's a language. Just like if you switched to use the site in French. It involves no third party developers. Still, tin-foils hats on, eh?

      1. DaveyDaveDave

        No - he might be right...

        There are definitely potential negative consequences. I read an article saying that there is a high correlation between using the 'French' app and being French.

        I don't know about you, but I'm staying well away from it.

  7. z3r0c00l

    why all the fuss

    If you post something public then it becomes exactly that, "public". If you want to keep your thoughts private then it's as simple as; don't make a public post on any website.

    I must say I agree with Zukerberg.

    1. Tom 13

      What's wrong is it wasn't advertised as Public, it was advertised as Controlled Access.

      When I setup my FaceBook account initially because of doing a job search, there was some information I made public, some information I marked as okay for friends to see, and some information I marked for only family to see. They changed the terms of publishing that information without requesting my permission.

  8. adnim

    Dumb or ignorant?

    They were only ever informed of the benefits of this service and never told of the ills and pitfalls...

    Same goes for every consumer product, products are always shown in the best light and described by half truths.

    Does ignorance of the dark underbelly of favorable product information make one dumb?

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Mark Zuckerberg

    Is hereby awarded the Jimbo Wales, twat of the year award for......... well, being a slimy, obnoxious little prick.

  10. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Not the jealousy card again.

      Why is becoming impossible to legitimately criticize someone successful without some holier than thou FANBOY bringing out that old chestnut.

      If these toadies had any better defence of their idols they would mention them. but no, they reach for the Jealousy card every time.

    2. Mark 65


      "Random observation: There is a lot of bile directed against Mark Zuckerburg, wonder how much of it is jeaulousy."

      Zero probably, he *is* a prick and in a rampant gun culture like the US it'd probably pay to have a little more respect for your users.

  11. Ivor Pseudonym

    'authenticated against a real person'

    It's authenticated against a real person? Also at least one bunny rabbit called 'Flopsy', not to mention a few Johnny Nigmas and Ivor Pseudonyms..

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    And this is why while I do have a FB account it is filled with useless information (not one iota of actual real info about me) and is only used so when people pester me to get an accoutn with FB I can say i've already got one.

    That and all the privacy settings are locked down on it anyways so 3rd party apps and random folks broswing FB cant see anything anyways.

    Good luck ID scamming me :P

    PS: How exactly is data on FB verified? As there was no attempt to verify anything I put in for my account.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      On my Facebook profile I'm a woman called Arthur!

    2. Pascal Monett Silver badge


      You have a basically fake FB account just to be able to tell people that you have one.

      Is it so difficult to just tell people you don't want one ? I never found that it was a problem.

  13. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

    Implied trust

    It is the case that there is an implied trust in anybody to whom you give your information, whatever it is.

    I think that what Mark said is quite true, although a bit strongly worded (this is subjective, as many people, especially when they are young, use the f word freely in everyday speech without any specific meaning). I mean, why would you trust someone who you don't know with any sensitive data?

    Anybody who believes that a third party does not have the ability to abuse their data is clearly too naive to be allowed to use such systems.

    And in my mind, this extends to people like Google and other cloud storage organizations . Do you really trust them with all of your documents and emails about *everything*? What recourse do you have if your sensitive or commercially valuable IP leaks, whether intentionally or by accident? If they could be sued for loss of reputation, or damages through commercial loss, I'll bet that they would all close down, or become subscription services bound both ways by contract very quickly.

  14. Anonymous Coward

    Face Book - here is a picture of Meeeeee

    I kind of like the social online things - a bit, with absolute minimal info and that is about it.

    But it NEVER ceases to amaze me, that these "FUCKING STUPID" corporate moron types, want to open your "Dear Diary" and show the entire world the content of your privates....

    I always thought that the arrangement was that we put our stuff up there, so that we and the traffic we generate, get exposed to your advertising - that generates your revenue to run the site and earn an income.

    I thought that essentially was the nature of the deal.....

    So since when did these fucking pricks, decide that it was all right to go posting ALL of MY email contacts on line and linking my "affairs" with the rest of the people in the world and their "affairs" and email contacts....

    I kind of become lost for words on the degree of stupidity that these people exercise in their business decisions - just like the fucks in Google and Google Buzz....

    They are like morons on your team:

    Person A: "Oh the racing car has crashed and caught on fire and burnt - killing the driver" -

    Person B: "Well the fire extinguishing system should have put that out".

    Person A: "Why didn't it?"

    Person B: "We took it out".

    Person A: "What? What did you do that for?"

    Person B: "Oh we didn't think they'd be needing it".

    I mean that is the sort of stupid fuck mentality that these corporate morons exhibit with just common sense situations.

    Do they sneak into your bedroom and read your diary when your not there - and then jump on the phone to tell them about your life behind your back ?

    Nooooooo they photocopy it and air drop it all over the planet like war time propaganda.

    Here is who they have been rooting, here is a list of all their friends and their phone numbers etc., etc., etc.....

    I think instead of fines and finger waggling etc., at the corporate morons, we should bring back beatings in the town square.....

    "Ohhhhh your the founder / head of the legal dept etc., etc., of face book - Ohhhh here is a broken nose and 50 lashes - prick".

  15. Winkypop Silver badge

    Social Nut Works

    Huge great masses of dark slimy fail.

  16. Ramshackle

    Check again.

    "...the users tend to be over 35 and middle class"

    Absolute bollocks.

    1. nobby

      i was assuming he was taking the p155

      wasn't he?

  17. MinionZero

    Showing what he really thinks of people...

    The derogatory way he thinks of people as "Dumb fucks" combined with his continued need to exploit people are both good warning signs of a Narcissistic personality type, as is his need to be the founder of such a large scale exploitative website. A Narcissist isn't the sort of person you can trust, because behind your back they will seek to exploit you. Which is ultimately also the business model behind Facebook.

    The users think its all about attention and that kind of person is more than happy to give away their privacy because they ultimately want attention.

    So what we end up with, is people with a leaning towards a Histrionic pattern of behaviour (attention seekers) (I.e. HPD) being exploited by Narcissists (power seekers) (I.e. NPD). Two common cluster B personality disorders, which is the exact same pattern of behaviour we get in all reality television and even the whole range of media industries. (e.g. Music industry, Acting industries (film/TV/stage etc..), Fashion industry etc...). The Narcissists so often try to exploit the Histrionic people (because they are easy to exploit) (because Narcissists try to exploit everyone) and the Histrionic people are very vocal in trying to convince everyone else its a good thing, because they always want to be at the centre of attention. Meanwhile the Narcissists want to be in power over large numbers of people, so they can herd everyone for their own gain.

    Its the same pattern repeated over and over again in different walks of life.

  18. adrianww


    I'm not saying that your Narcissists/Histrionic analysis of the Facebook phenomenon is all wrong or anything, but your wording did start to remind me of the Pricks, Pussies and Assholes speech from Team America World Police at one point...

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Speaking as a one-legged Nigerian lesbian of 99

    I have to question just how accurate Schmuckerberg's big ol' stash o' data really is: if everybody poisons the well, the village dies, right? At least, that's what my great-great-grandfather told me...

    1. jake Silver badge

      @AC 22:35

      "Speaking as a one-legged Nigerian lesbian of 99"

      This post was not posted by me ...

      jake ... usualy posting as a one-legged black lesbian lumberjack who commutes to the PacificNorthWet from the SF-BayArea via rollerblades ...

  20. Anonymous Coward

    El Reg Comments

    Proof that Mark was right.

    I'll just be leaving now...

  21. Baggypants


    Fork's "I trust the almighty G (to chuck it in the spam bin)" makes me want to laugh for some reason

  22. Death to iShite

    He's merely stating the obvious...

    ...Facebook users ARE dumb fucks.

  23. Deadly_NZ
    Black Helicopters

    re Anon Coward

    and is only used so when people pester me to get an accoutn with FB I can say i've already got one.

    WOW And you cant just say NO???

    I wont even let a computer log into that or any other 'social' read hack and virus dispensor site

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    just one of a number of nudges....

    ...that pretty soon constitute a shove. I was already in the process of leaving when this story surfaced. My reasons are here :

    This certainly helped quash any 'oh no, I just quit Facebook' doubts.

    Reg : Nevermind an evil Jobs or Gates, can we have a demonic Zuckerburg, too?

  25. marky_boi

    bollocks to him

    on my facetwit page , I am mickey mouse living in the middle of Afganistan..... ohhh and by the way I'm actually a dog....woof .....never give out details golden rule #1, number 2 have a spam trap email address that is easily abandoned.....number 3 laff @ zuckerman.... what a twat!!!

  26. Piro Silver badge

    Never joined

    Why bother? I don't need more information on show about me than that already exsits

  27. Roger B

    I dont have an account but...

    I still get emails from friends via facebook who want me to join, initially I didn't think much of it, but now every new one I get shows all my previous invitations, so even though I dont have an account, I almost do, due to my friends who have signed up, I guess all they have is name, email address and possibly a general location, but still more information than I would like them to have.

  28. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge
    Paris Hilton


    "..I still get emails from friends via facebook who want me to join, initially I didn't think much of it, but now every new one I get shows all my previous invitations, so even though I dont have an account, I almost do, due to my friends who have signed up, I guess all they have is name, email address and possibly a general location, but still more information than I would like them to have...."

    ? Also ??

    A lot of my fake addresses get invites too. But none of my real ones do, because I'm careful who I pass them out to.

    Does mean I have to scan a bit over 20 addresses every evening...but that's what macros were invented for...

    Paris. Because I understand that she has a lot of addresses as well...

    1. Roger B

      RE: WTF...?

      I'm not saying I get fake invites, these are invites from real friends in the real world who obviously think as they have an FB account I should also have one. Its not like we talk about the terrors/delights of FB and I voice my opinion about how much I hate it, not all my friends are in IT or read The Reg and so they can live in blissful ignorance.

      I just find it a little creepy that even though I dont have an account, FB knows my address, my name, my general location and who some of my friends are, I think on the last invite that came to me FB even suggested other friends we might have in common!

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