An old and awkwardly-honest exchange of IMs between Mark Zuckerberg and a college friend has the Facebook founder and CEO taking new heat about his famously dismissive attitude toward privacy.

We all say stupid things when we’re young. And we’re all very glad when, years later, everybody’s forgotten about them and moved on to more immediate concerns. But we don’t all grow up to be Mark Zuckerberg, who founded Facebook while in college and presided over its growth into a multi-billion-dollar operation. So while most of us can rely on the tender mercies of time to blunt our youthful missteps, Zuckerberg isn’t so lucky.

Zuckerberg is famous for his cavalier attitude toward privacy. He said earlier this year that the conventional concept of privacy is no longer a “social norm” and in April a Facebook employee claimed that his boss simply “doesn’t believe in” it. It’s not an entirely unreasonable attitude to take in this day and age, but an exchange of instant messages between Zuckerberg and a college friend from back in the earliest days of Facebook may be a bit more telling and a lot harder to rationalize.

Zuckerberg: Yeah so if you ever need info about anyone at Harvard

Zuckerberg: Just ask.

Zuckerberg: I have over 4,000 emails, pictures, addresses, SNS

[Redacted Friend’s Name]: What? How’d you manage that one?

Zuckerberg: People just submitted it.

Zuckerberg: I don’t know why.

Zuckerberg: They “trust me”

Zuckerberg: Dumb f*cks.

Oh, the bitter sting of irony. It burns! It’s an old conversation, sure, but not that old: Zuckerberg is only 25, after all. And even though this should probably be filed under “youthful indiscretion,” appearances matter and this looks like nothing so much as an affirmation of Zuckerberg’s complete indifference toward the personal privacy of other people. With Facebook increasingly coming under fire for its “inconsistent” approach to users’ privacy, this sort of public relations debacle, fair or not, is the last thing Zuckerberg needs.

Source: Business Insider

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