Zuckerberg on Yahoo’s $1bn offer, privacy and The Social Network

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg in an interview last night with CBS show “60 Minutes” said the movie “The Social Network” got “hugely basic” things wrong about the origins of the site and that he turned down an opportunity to sell the social network to Yahoo! for one billion dollars four years ago.

He also made it clear that he was in no hurry to take the company public.

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The 26-year-old Facebook chief executive also defended his approach to the privacy of the social network’s more than 500-million users, saying “we never sell your information”.

“Advertisers who are using the site never get access to your information,” he said. “It’s against all of our policies for an application to ever share information with advertisers. Now, do we get it right all the time? No!” he said. “But it’s something that we take really seriously.”

Facebook’s new profile pages
Facebook’s new profile pages, which went live on Sunday, highlight recent pictures in which a member has been “tagged” in a bar at the top of the page along with biographical information such as where a member is from, where they went to school, their relationship status and where they work.

“People love photos,” Zuckerberg said. “Photos originally weren’t that big a part of the idea for Facebook, but we just found that people really like them, so we built out this functionality.”

The new profile pages should be available to all of Facebook’s users by early next year, Josh Wiseman, a Facebook engineer, said in a blog post.

Facebook members can highlight their most important friends on their new profile, create new groups of friends or share activities and interests such as favorite musicians and sports teams.

The Social Network
Speaking of “The Social Network,” Zuckerberg said “we took the whole company to go see the movie” and “I actually thought it was pretty fun. It’s pretty interesting to see what parts they got right and what parts they got wrong,” he said.

“I think that they got every single T-shirt that they had the Mark Zuckerberg character wearing right. And they got sandals right and all that. But I mean, there are hugely basic things that they got wrong, too,” he said.

“They made it seem like my whole motivation for building Facebook was so I could get girls.”

“60 Minutes” also featured an interview the Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, Harvard University classmates who accused Zuckerberg of stealing their idea.

The twins reached a reported 65-million-dollar settlement with Facebook but are now claiming they were misled about the value of the company.

“He sabotaged our project; and he betrayed us,” Tyler Winklevoss said.

Speaking of the Winklevoss twins, Zuckerberg said “it’s hard for me to fully wrap my head around where they’re coming from on this.

“You know, early on, they had an idea that was completely separate from Facebook,” he said. “It was a dating site for Harvard. And I agreed to help them out with it.

“It wasn’t a job, they weren’t paying me, I wasn’t hired by them or anything like that,” he said. “That they would be upset about this all these years later is kind of mindboggling for me.”

He said the movie makes “it seem like this whole lawsuit is such a huge part of Facebook’s history” but “I’ve probably spent less than two weeks of my time worried about this lawsuit at all.”

Asked if he felt any remorse, Zuckerberg said, “I mean, after all this time, I feel bad that they still feel bad about it.”

The Yahoo offer
Zuckerberg said he was offered a billion dollars for Facebook in 2006 by Yahoo! but turned it down.

“I think a lot of people at the time thought we should sell the company,” he said. “But you know, I felt really strongly. I think, like, now, people generally think that that was a good decision.”

Asked if there would be an initial public offering, Zuckerberg said: “Maybe.”

“A lot of people who I think build startups or companies think that selling the company or going public is this endpoint… like you win when you go public. And that’s just not how I see it,” he said. – AFP

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