Apologies & Explanations from the Fake Mark Zuckerberg

34_zuckerberg_markHi, I’m Fake Mark Zuckerberg.  My alter-ego couldn’t be here today; I think he’s  consulting with (read: ignoring) his PR team. 

I’m here to get a few things off my chest in the meantime.  I’m here to tell you what The Real Mark Zuckerberg ought to be telling you … when he’s darned good & ready:

Hi guys.  I want you to know that we’re very much aware of the hubbub our Beacon approach has caused.  As you know, we’ve already scaled it back, in response to your concerns, and made a statement to that effect, all of which has been widely covered.

But I also realize that the firestorm still burns.  I know that even while the vast majority of our users are probably still unaware of Beacon and its challenges, there are many influential folks who are upset about suspected violations of privacy.

We’re working on it.  When a young company like Facebook grows this quickly, mistakes are going to be made.  Hopefully we’ll not only make mistakes quickly, we’ll fix them quickly, too; certainly that’s our goal.

But meanwhile, let’s be clear: in Facebook we’re building a world-class social network that’s “for the people” but also “for profit.”  We need to either monetize the community or else shut-down Facebook and think-up other ways to pay our mortgages and car payments, just like everybody else.  We think we’ve got a pretty smart team of execs and advisors, of all ages and backgrounds, so when we do hit on a great idea for making Facebook more profitable, we’re going to roll it out.  We respect our users but can’t get their thumb’s-up on every decision; that’s a surefire way to hobble our growth.  “Too many cooks,” and all that…

We may have made some mis-steps with Beacon, but we do believe that the basic strategy is unique and promising.  Everyone says “Word Of Mouth” is the most powerful marketing approach; we think that the growing prevalence of online activity in social networks means that the “Word Of Click” approach enabled by Beacon will be even more powerful.  We’ll see!

I admit that we could have been more thorough in our processes, in terms of how Beacon worked as well as how our advertising partners used it.  It’s got to move to a clearly-labeled Opt-In model across the network of partner sites; and yes, we’ll have to figure out a way to let people Opt-Out (even if it means we disable certain aspects of their Facebook experience as a result of opting-out of Facebook’s premier monetization strategy).

This is a work in progress, folks, and we appreciate your patience and trust as we figure out the smartest way to move forward.  In the meantime, again, the challenges to Beacon have registered loud & clear.  We hear you and we’re hard at work on making things ever-better for our users, partners and investors.


Fake Mark Zuckerberg

UPDATE: The Big Guy stepped up.  Didn’t know he was subscribed to this blog!

Posted on: December 4, 2007 at 4:25 pm By Todd Defren
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