Facebook privacy: Zuckerberg's profile unzipped

Facebook CEO's Facebook page reveals the ups and downs of the social networking site's new privacy settings.

How much personal information can you glean from Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg's profile? That depends on when you happened to be viewing it.

As Facebook messes with its privacy settings, the visibility -- or lack thereof -- of Zuckerberg's profile underscores how the new system, however simplified, can be confusing, and may reveal more information to the World Wide Web than users had planned.

Let's take a look at how the privacy of Zuckerberg's Facebook page has fluctuated recently:

According to the site True/Slant, as of October 2, Zuckerberg's public profile contained a photo, a friends list, his networks and the ability to send him a message. You could not add him as a friend, but here's the kicker: Anyone could see his friends list, and try to befriend those people. This becomes important later.

When Facebook rolled out its new privacy settings last week, encouraging users to reveal more of their profile to others, Zuckerberg appeared to follow suit, with True/Slant noting that his profile went public. It's not clear whether the profile was open to anyone, or just friends of friends, but either way, his upcoming events, wall posts and, most importantly, photos, were made visible to lots of people. Gawker's Valleywag blog posted highlights of the photos.

In a wall post, Zuckerberg said he meant to share all those photos, but it's now harder to access them than ever; Facebook now allows users to hide their friends lists from public view, a feature that Zuckerberg has implemented.

Facebook spokesman Barry Schnitt told True/Slant that Zuckerberg's process is to be expected. "He went through the transition tool like other users, evaluated the recommendations, and ended up accepting them," Schnitt said.

Well, not really. Zuckerberg's recent Facebook changes reveal a paradox about the new privacy settings: You can make your profile appear private to outsiders, but it's quite easy for prying eyes to find what they're after. In addition to posting Zuckerberg's photos, Valleywag has also managed to stalk celebrities and intrude on Yale's Skull and Bones secret society.

The extra scrutiny Zuckerberg faces as Facebook's chief executive certainly made his profile more susceptible to snooping, but it also allows him to fully understand the changes and act accordingly. As other people use Facebook's privacy transition tool, not everyone will have that luxury.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags privacyFacebook

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jared Newman

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Bang and Olufsen Beosound Stage - Dolby Atmos Soundbar

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Sony WF-1000XM3 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Nakamichi Delta 100 3-Way Hi Fi Speaker System

Learn more >

ASUS ROG, ACRONYM partner for Special Edition Zephyrus G14

Learn more >

Family Friendly

Philips Sonicare Diamond Clean 9000 Toothbrush

Learn more >

Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit for Nintendo Switch

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

SunnyBunny Snowflakes 20 LED Solar Powered Fairy String

Learn more >

Teac 7 inch Swivel Screen Portable DVD Player

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?