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article imageOp-Ed: Hacking Zuckerberg's Facebook page

By Paul Wallis     Jan 26, 2011 in Internet
Amid growing mutterings from security mavens, the Zuckerberg fan page on Facebook received a surprise when a post from Zuckerberg seemed to be saying that Facebook should become a “social business”.
The page has since been taken down, but Techcrunch got a screenshot of it. 1800+ people liked it.
The “social business” reference refers to Facebook “needing money”. This is apparently a follow-up to recent news that Goldman Sachs was opening a private equity investment option for Facebook worth $1.5 billion.
Reuters followed up with a similar story, filling in some, if not many, of the gaps in the original with a lot of information gleaned from online sources regarding concerns about Facebook security. 82% of people in one survey considered Facebook the biggest security risk compared to other social sites.
Facebook isn’t saying anything at this point about the incident. If this was a hacker attack, they wouldn’t have much information so soon, so that’s understandable.
More to the point is the target of the attack. Facebook has been making various noises in the financial markets about a float, and Goldman Sachs’ private equity investment does indicate creation of a capital inflow. Obviously, this is a sensitive time in Facebook’s development, and the timing of the attack is interesting.
Highlighting security vulnerabilities, just when $1.5 billion is up in the air, could be seen as an unsubtle gesture. It could also be seen as a typical play by groups like Anonymous, and other self-appointed guardians of the public conscience online. The idea of a “social business” a la Mahomed Yunus, creator of the micro loans schemes for the poorest nations in the world, is a rather obvious contrast to Goldman Sachs.
Nobody could seriously believe Facebook, with its $1 billion per year revenue stream and incoming private investors, is about to turn into a charity. The contrast is a negative comparison, pretty typical of the terminally self-righteous online messiahs. Put a picture of yourself next to a picture of Jesus Christ, and who looks better? Simple play on images.
(They don’t target the really bad guys, ever. They don’t target big nasty Earth-killing corporations or the social engineering psychos. They do target high profile, high publicity value people. Zuckerberg has never set himself up as Mother Teresa. Neither has anyone else, until now, when this quite spurious comparison with Yunus was made.)
Facebook is at a financial crossroads. Its future development has to get on the rails soon. It’s becoming big, cumbersome and needs direction, revenue and organization.
That’s what’s at stake at the moment, and someone is apparently trying to make things look as bad as possible:
1. Discredit Zuckerberg, using a site concept which wasn’t even on the board.
2. Emphasize the security issues, making the site’s commercial value look suspect.
3. Win a few Brownie points with the We Are Gods, You Scum! groups online.
Enchanting, isn’t it?
I would trust this scenario about as far as I could spit it, and “spit” is a euphemism. This looks like a finance sector hatchet job, smear by hacking.
Facebook now has to reply by:
Saying no, it’s not about to become a “social business”, which will look negative to those who continue to believe in the “ideals of the web”, whatever those are now.
It will have to answer security questions, so easy to do if you have 600 million or so unknown quantities on a site.
It will look like another vindication of hackers as social saints.
Call me reactionary, but "dictatorship by hackers" isn't my idea of a great social movement. There's enough self-serving paid hypocrites in this world as it is. These guys probably got paid very nicely for this 5 minutes work. This is the online version of the Black Bloc, as far as I can see.
I wasn't much of a Zuckerberg fan, until about now.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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