How is Mark Zuckerberg personally

Facebook founder Zuckerberg once broke into journalists' mail accounts personally

For several years, Facebook gave the author Steven Levy a deep insight into his own company. The result is a 527-page book called "Facebook: The Inside Story". And this also delivers some previously unknown episodes from the company's history.


One particularly spicy episode caught the eye of "The Verge": Levy tells of the fact that Mark Zuckerberg personally broke into the email accounts of two journalists in the early years of Facebook. The background to this was the legal dispute with the Winkelvoss brothers, who accused Zuckerberg of stealing the idea for Facebook from them. An allegation that two reporters from the university newspaper in Harvard addressed, and Zuckerberg wanted to know beforehand what they had researched about him. So he went through the Facebook logs and looked specifically for the accounts of the two journalists. He promptly found an incorrectly entered password. So he tried it on the email account in question, and it was actually successful.

However, he did not find out much more than that the journalist referred to him privately as "sleazy". The following report was, by the way, entirely in Zuckerberg's sense, the authors came to the conclusion that the Facebook founder was right with his view of things.

The right-handed smartphone

It has long been known that Facebook was working on its own smartphone for a while, as it was feared that it would be displaced by the dominance of Google and Apple. According to Levy's book, this is said to have been codenamed "GFK" - an allusion to the rapper Ghostface Killah of the Wu-Tang Clan. Facebook is said to have relied on an innovative - but probably not completely well thought-out design. The designer Yves BĂ©har is said to have developed a device with a curved surface that could be used to scroll through the content with the thumb. The problem with this: this touch sensor only worked for right-handed users. Nevertheless, Facebook initially decided to continue the project. "We have decided that we do not care about left-handed people," said one employee openly.

Not interested in the impact of the technology

In several places Levy reveals that Zuckerberg had zero interest in policy issues from the start, which explains many of the problems the company has slipped into over the years. Introducing the chutzpah to a dating service right after the Cambridge Analytica scandal may have been astonishing to outsiders, but for Zuckerberg it was logical. He is only interested in growth and product development, everything else is irrelevant. And apparently he also likes to surround himself with similar people: Levy quotes WhatsApp founder Brian Acton as saying that it is not up to the developers to make moral evaluations. If the messenger leads to hate crimes in India or Myanmar, then people should not problematize the technology. In the meantime, Acton has turned away from Facebook and repeatedly criticizes Zuckerberg publicly.

Zuckerberg also seemed to have little interest in other, much-discussed episodes. For example, he is said not to have spoken to the company's security chief at the time, Alex Stamos, about his investigation into the influence of Russia on the US elections via Facebook. And even Sheryl Sandberg, as Chief Operating Officer, the one to whom Zuckerberg is said to have deliberately pushed such topics off, very rarely spoke to Stamos directly.

Instagram blockage

In addition, the book confirms what many observers had already suspected: Zuckerberg himself is said to have hindered the development of Instagram several times because he feared that it could overtake his own Facebook. It was already known that because of this, he once banned links to Instagram in the Facebook news feed, but he is also said to have forbidden the Instagram founders from employing as many people as they would need for further growth. As a result, they left the company in frustration. (apo, 28.2.2020)