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Poole To Zuckerberg: You’re Doing It Wrong 371

An anonymous reader writes "At South by Southwest Interactive 2011 in Austin, Texas this week, 4chan founder Christopher Poole (also known as 'moot') took the stage to talk about various online issues. One of these was how important anonymity is on the Internet and how Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg doesn't get it."
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Poole To Zuckerberg: You’re Doing It Wrong

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  • Useful info (Score:5, Funny)

    by gazbo ( 517111 ) on Tuesday March 15, 2011 @06:00PM (#35497204)
    Shame he'll not be able to hear how wrong he is through his insulating walls of billions of dollars. In fact it's surprising moot isn't aware of this issue given his similarly vast wealth.
    • Re:Useful info (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Microlith ( 54737 ) on Tuesday March 15, 2011 @06:08PM (#35497288)

      Because, of course, billions make you right.

      • by syousef ( 465911 ) on Tuesday March 15, 2011 @06:33PM (#35497558) Journal

        Because, of course, billions make you right.

        I'm wrong pretty often, despite my best efforts. I'd sure like billions to comfort me ;-)

      • by BigDXLT ( 1218924 ) on Tuesday March 15, 2011 @06:35PM (#35497582)

        Right, wrong, he's the guy with the money.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        If the claim is "anonymity is valued on the Internet, and Facebook has got it wrong", then I'd say Zuckerberg having a company that has an astronomical value and millions of members who don't seem to give a shit about anonymity, then yes, I'd say that makes Zuckerberg right and this guy wrong.

        • by MrHanky ( 141717 )

          Not really. Anonymity might be valued, but so might personal information. To make money off one of them, you need 1) the ability to deliver, 2) a method for getting paid, and 3) wealthy customers. Facebook gets all of these, 4chan only the first one (and to a limited degree). Also note that Facebook's customers (the source of its revenue) aren't the users, but the advertisers. Invading the privacy of millions of others is obviously worth a lot more than simply saving your own.

        • Re:Useful info (Score:5, Insightful)

          by 1u3hr ( 530656 ) on Tuesday March 15, 2011 @11:56PM (#35500070)

          having a company that has an astronomical value and millions of members who don't seem to give a shit about anonymity, then yes, I'd say that makes Zuckerberg right and this guy wrong.

          Yep, let the market decide what's "right" and "wrong".

          So, that means McDonald's and Coca Cola's approach to nutrition is "right". Cigarette companies are "right" that their product is safe. Fox's news reporting is "right".

      • Perhaps not, but with billions at your disposal, you can probably redefine "right".

      • Because, of course, billions make you right.

        Uh, no, billions make you not give a flying fuck about....well, pretty much anything.

        And besides, I'm failing to see how blaming the CEO has anything at all to do with the fact that hundreds of millions of Farcebook members also don't give a fuck about privacy.

        Ignorance obviously is still very blissful for millions of future identity theft victims.

        • by NateTech ( 50881 )

          Ahh, you just hit the real crux of the game. To these guys, they're in charge... so telling each other "you're wrong" is their whole world view.

          The fact that millions of people agree or disagree with them, doesn't matter at all to their distorted view of the world. They argue amongst themselves and whatever us "millions" do, must have happened because of something THEY did, not our own free will.

          That's their view of it all, anyway.

  • by timeOday ( 582209 ) on Tuesday March 15, 2011 @06:01PM (#35497214)
    Facebook took off precisely by leveraging pre-existing real-world relationships, but allowing people to be exclusive in sharing what they write.

    All of that is based on people as people, not as ideas.

    If you want ideas to predominate, come to slashdot or, I guess, 4chan.

  • Remember Sounded like a great idea, but they charged money to use it. Facebook is free, and is for people who want to know their other real life friends/family. You just gotta treat Facebook with the tact of if you were running for public office... Because if you run for public office, they'll certainly look at what you said on Facebook. To me, it is a win because we won't have future politicians of America to have talked all sorts of drunken fratboy chat on Facebook in their younger year
    • ...Once this happens, people might go,"Oh, wow, I gotta monitor what comes out of my mouth instead of being a non-stop idiot"

      Yeah, because being non-stop idiots with diarrhea of the mouth has stopped soooo many politicians from getting and/or staying elected. You might want to hear/read some of the dribble these politicians are spewing now on Facebook, Fox News, and MSNBC and you "poke" me when one of these politicians lose an election because of a stupid/racist/offensive status update.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Facebook is only free if your privacy has no value.

      • you don't have to update your friends on every BJ you happen to give or receive, you know.

        yes, control of what you post on facebook is firmly in Zuckerberg's hands, but control of what you type in there yourself is quite literally in your hands

        • you don't have to update your friends on every BJ you happen to give or receive, you know.

          yes, control of what you post on facebook is firmly in Zuckerberg's hands, but control of what you type in there yourself is quite literally in your hands

          Very true. I don't post pictures to my profile, although others do tag me. I don't list any personal information at all, not even there but allegedly hidden behind privacy controls. The posts I make are few and far between, with no drama or anything.

          I see people post

    • My hope for the end of anonymity is that people will someday realize that everyone makes mistakes. Everyone does things that we may find objectionable. Pretending not to is no way to bring people together. My hope is that one day we will learn to accept others for who they truly are.

      What? Why are you laughing?

  • “Mark Zuckerberg has kind of equated anonymity with a lack of authenticity, almost a cowardice,” said Poole. “I would say that’s totally wrong. I think anonymity is authenticity. It allows you to share in a completely unvarnished, unfiltered, raw way. I think that’s something that’s extremely valuable. In the case of content creation, it just allows you to play in ways that you may not have otherwise. We believe in content over creator.”

    Maybe Zuckerberg never heard

    • by mbkennel ( 97636 )

      Of course he heard about pen names and handles, and was 100% aware of MySpace and a million other blogs and boards in 2003.

      The crux of the matter is that Zuckerberg's customers Really Want To Know Your Real Name Because That Helps Them Make Lots Of Money. The Customer is always right. The neat trick was convincing 500 million FacebookFriends to use their real names, and emotional manipulation about authenticity and, initially, exclusivity, helped.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Mark Zuckerberg is getting it. lots of it. billions actually.

    He also gets anonimity. He just does not care about (other people's) anonimity.

  • moot (Score:5, Funny)

    by psergiu ( 67614 ) on Tuesday March 15, 2011 @06:05PM (#35497252)

    moot on /. ? a 1st page article about 4chan ?
    How long until /. introduces image attachements for each reply ? :)

    • Re:moot (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 15, 2011 @06:32PM (#35497552)

      This illustrates part of Moot's point, I think; before you can begin to receive his idea, let alone process it, you already know who made the statement, and that has colored your perception in some way (you aren't obviously for or against 4chan, but you clearly know what it is). Anonymity is therefore arguably better for the transmission and sharing of ideas, because each idea is forced/allowed to stand on its own. Obviously there is also a place for credited work, such as peer-reviewed submissions, but I think his position is a strong one.

      I think he's missing the point of Facebook a little bit, though; it isn't (at least in my experience) an exchange of ideas or the nexus of a creative endeavor. It's a really fancy online address book.

  • by H0p313ss ( 811249 ) on Tuesday March 15, 2011 @06:14PM (#35497360)

    How anybody could not understand that, particularly an internet veteran like moot is rather mind boggling.

  • by rsborg ( 111459 ) on Tuesday March 15, 2011 @06:15PM (#35497378) Homepage

    Society is a balance between privacy and sharing. When a so-called "social" website decides that everything that goes in the website should be "public by default" that really violates the public/private social balance.

    In the absence of strong information/data privacy laws, only a fool would use Facebook to put more than even the basic public details about themselves; you only need take a look at the growing legal [], workplace [] and criminal [] ramifications to see the end results.

    The real tough part is that rabid facebook users can get you listed on Facebook just by "tagging" your photo. So you have to join to even purge the stupid... this is anti-social.

  • by John Hasler ( 414242 ) on Tuesday March 15, 2011 @06:18PM (#35497400) Homepage

    Many (perhaps most) people do not want to be anonymous. This is Zuckerberg's market.

    • by syousef ( 465911 )

      Many (perhaps most) people do not want to be anonymous. This is Zuckerberg's market.

      Also known as "muggles" here on slashdot.

    • by jovius ( 974690 )

      Exactly. Facebook account can be established with a pseudonym and there's no obligation to give out any info (or correct info). Likewise anyone can reveal his/her identity on 4chan. In any case they are not competing but complementing platforms.

    • Exactly, most people want to be famous. I say give 'em what they want.

  • by sootman ( 158191 ) on Tuesday March 15, 2011 @06:19PM (#35497410) Homepage Journal

    ... that Zuckerberg gets it just fine and knows his users don't care.

  • ... simple economics suggest that in fact Zuckerberg is "doing it" exactly right IF his goal is to enrich himself.

    Guess what Zuckerberg's goal is?

  • Are we a wee bit jealous of Zuckerberg's success?

    Given the ridiculous amount of success Facebook has seen over the past 5 years, I'd say you're talking out of your ass.
  • Idiots (Score:2, Insightful)

    by cfalcon ( 779563 )

    I love all these idiotic comments that Facebook MUST be right because they are successful. Would you stand up for an evil dictator with the same brevity? Well, he's in charge and all who opposed him are in anonymous graves SO HE MUST BE RIGHT!!1!1

    These are good points. That facebook snookered everyone about privacy and is headed by a cocksure asshole who doesn't care about HIS privacy (possibly BECAUSE he is privileged) doesn't make it right just because all the lies about privacy, all the broken promise

  • by PCM2 ( 4486 ) on Tuesday March 15, 2011 @06:29PM (#35497528) Homepage

    One of my very first bosses said to me, back when I was still a teenager, that if you have something to say, you should be able to stand behind it. Even if all you're doing is dropping a note into the cash register saying "we keep running out of nickels," you should have enough character to sign it and date it. If you feel like you can't do that, maybe you shouldn't bother saying what it is you were planning to say. I still mostly agree with him about that.

    Sure, I understand there are many cases where it would be preferable, or even essential, to remain anonymous: when you're acting as a whistleblower, for example, or working against an oppressive government. But for most exchanges that we have on a day-to-day basis -- the kind of thing Facebook is good for -- I think anonymity just spoils it.

    Compare MySpace to Facebook, for example. On the former, you're inundated with friend requests from "DarkLordSeth79" and "PowrGrrl," where their photographs are screen grabs from anime or movies. I haven't used MySpace in a long time, but ultimately I found the only meaningful exchanges I had on there were with the dozen or so close friends whom I knew well already. Anybody whom I didn't know came off as a troll cloaked in MMORP wish-fulfillment. (See also the people who post on YouTube videos.)

    So I guess in summary, 4chan has its place, and maybe that should remain the place for it. Facebook is a place for something else, and I for one am thankful.

    • by MindlessAutomata ( 1282944 ) on Tuesday March 15, 2011 @06:52PM (#35497750)

      Hah, when you're anonymous it's easier to debate because personal qualities of the people making the arguments are unknown; therefore, the arguments are more likely to stand on their own (although people do speculate).

      That "stand behind it" crap is really all just manly-sounding bullshit.

    • So why isn't your screen name your full name and address then? That's what facebook attaches to everything you say on THEIR site. In fact, they attach your name to everything other people say TO you!
    • if you have something to say, you should be able to stand behind it.

      Spoken like a man who's never considered the power of intimidation.

    • by jafac ( 1449 )

      I'm Just Another Fucking Anonymous Coward.
      And I understand that the fuckers in the KKK wore hoods for a reason.
      But then again, the perpetrators of the original Boston Tea Party dressed up like Natives for a reason too.

    • by guspasho ( 941623 ) on Tuesday March 15, 2011 @08:18PM (#35498572)

      Do you know any previously-closeted gays? Or currently-closed ones that haven't come out to everyone yet?

      Have you ever lived in a small community?

      Have you ever tried asking friends and family members about something personal and embarrassing to you, like erectile dysfunction? In a restaurant, or at a ball game?

      Beyond the rare cases where one is actually threatened with death or imprisonment, social ostracization occurs all the time, and stigmas are attached to practically everything, especially in small communities. These make it difficult, even unbearable, to live openly. I recommend you read these Wiki articles: [] [] []

      One can hope for a perfect world where nobody has anything to fear from sharing everything with anyone, but such a world is unrealistic in the extreme.

      I can go on 4chan and find people asking about things like erectile dysfunction, but I can't imagine that many people are willing to join groups about that on Facebook. That's the value of anonymity.

  • If he thinks people should be anonymous on the Internet, why does law enforcement get any of 4chan's logs when something illegal is posted? Putting aside arguments over whether a post was, was not, should be, or should not be illegal, the information was handed over and IMHO that's not anonymity.

    Not trying to troll; it just seems a bit off.

    • Why do you think that anonymity should extend to protecting blatantly criminal behavior? What kind of person does it take to even ask that question? By your statements you seem to want 4chan and anonymity in general to be a haven for lawlessness, as if you have something against the very idea of anonymity. I think you are trolling.

  • And he doesn't give a flying fuck. His business is making sure people are not anonymous, tracked, and well documented.

    moot may have a valid point, but his goals are entirely different than Zuckerberg's.

    Facebook is all about selling the data for people who are easily manipulated, Zuckerberg knows EXACTLY what he's doing, and he doesn't care that its 'A Bad Thing'. He's probably rather proud of it actually. You gotta admit, Facebook throws in its users face on a monthly basis that they are idiots and they

  • by Wrath0fb0b ( 302444 ) on Tuesday March 15, 2011 @06:38PM (#35497608)

    That when building a tool for the masses you go by their preferences, not your own valid-but-uncommon ones. And the plain fact of the matter is that most people do not mind the Facebook privacy model as evidenced by their enthusiastic uptake of the system and their lackadaisical attitude towards all these "ZOMG Facebook is the devil" news stories.

    I get it, the /. and 4chan crowds have a different set of preferences than the average consumer. This has been beaten to death so many times that there's scarcely anything more to add there except to remind you guys that not everyone must have the same preferences as you. In fact, many prefer the convenience of Facebook over the loss of privacy. We keep hearing the refrain of "if they knew the truth they'd change their minds" and yet they continue to not change their minds not matter how much bleating goes on, probably because they know and don't change their minds. I know this is an odd thing to the partisan/zealot, but really some people understand your position, heard the arguments and just aren't convinced. Try not to take it too personally.

    Heck, I've got a Facebook page that shares all sorts of banality. And truth is I wouldn't at all be upset if everything on there was printed out and handed to every person I've ever known (I would feel sorry if they decided to actually peruse through that banality, to be honest). Is is "authentic" as Moot wants it to be? No and I bloody don't want that in the first instance. The fact that he thinks I give a fig about his preferences for the content and tone of my communications is really astounding, roughly equivalent to me thinking that he should consult me on whether he should have jam or cheese on his toast (cheese, with a tiny bit of Marmite).

    TL;DR version: Not everyone is like you. This is a good thing, the world would be boring if everyone was the same. Quit projecting your own values onto others, at least in such cases where they have taken clear and unequivocal steps to demonstrate that they do not share those values.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      I wish I had mod points for this. Oh well.

      One point I want to add though is that you don't lose any privacy by using Facebook. If Facebook jacked into my computer and started posting all kinds of things that I didn't authorize it to, that would be losing privacy. However, for the most part, my Facebook profile gets no more data than I CHOOSE to give it. I'm not giving up privacy by using it because nothing I put there is of a private nature. Otherwise it wouldn't be on Facebook.

      There is nothing I post on Fa

      • by sessamoid ( 165542 ) on Tuesday March 15, 2011 @07:39PM (#35498252)

        I wish I had mod points for this. Oh well.

        One point I want to add though is that you don't lose any privacy by using Facebook. If Facebook jacked into my computer and started posting all kinds of things that I didn't authorize it to, that would be losing privacy. However, for the most part, my Facebook profile gets no more data than I CHOOSE to give it.

        What you choose to give it, PLUS what everybody you're linked to chooses to reveal about you or inadvertently reveals about you.

        • Which is no different than real life.

          More damage has been done to me by the fact that my brother is completely incapable of not saying the stupidest shit at the most inopportune and inappropriate times than will probably ever be done by my Facebook profile.

          With that said, if someone goes digging through my Facebook profile—say as a result of a job interview—and finds something there that's grounds not to hire me. Fine. It's fine. The last thing I want to do is work for a snoop and I know ahead o

  • Hello, the consumer does not care. This is pretty much like the android vs apple riots, again the consumer does not care about walled gardens and or privacy.

  • I'm not sure it isn't that Zuckerberg doesn't get it. I think it's more that he is paid millions and millions of dollars to *not* get it.

    • That's precisely the problem. Zuckerberg is corrupted by his wealth. Zuckerberg pursues personal wealth, while Moot (presumably) does not. Even if it's only presumably, he isn't making his fortune through increasingly creepy invasions of his users' privacy.

    • by hduff ( 570443 )

      I'm not sure it isn't that Zuckerberg doesn't get it. I think it's more that he is paid millions and millions of dollars to *not* get it.

      He gets it, but he doesn't make money off of 'getting it'.

  • The goal of the website is to connect people. Wouldn't maintaining anonymity preclude that? It seems like anonymity is actually the antithesis of Facebook, in which case I'd say Christopher Poole is the one who doesn't get it.

  • Would it be too much to expect that everyone to realize it is both corrupt and fallacious to claim that Zuckerberg's ideas are superior because of his vast wealth? Anyone who jumps to defend Zuckerberg purely on his wealth alone, without addressing the arguments, is defending corruption itself. Ignoring the merits of the arguments, if anyone is right, wouldn't it be the one whose ideas are not tainted by the corruption of wealth? (Unless of course the subject is how to most efficiently accumulate wealth, bu

  • by Cyberllama ( 113628 ) on Tuesday March 15, 2011 @09:38PM (#35499154)

    I've noticed recently that a lot of places have suddenly switched to the Facebook commenting system for their websites with that assumption that forcing people to post with their real names will cut down on trolling.

    It may well do that, but it certainly comes with a cost to non-troll posts as well. I, for one, have stopped visiting Techcrunch as a result -- let alone stopped posting there. People censor themselves when they know their friends will read their comments. This is not always a good thing, this includes keeping valid and valuable opinions to themselves simply because they don't want to offend anyone. Not to mention the number of people who will simply choose to say nothing at all. What Techcrunch and anyone who switches to this new commenting system has done is throw the baby out with the bathwater, then pat themselves on the back for getting rid of that pesky bathwater. It makes me kinda sad. The Facebookification of the Internet is the death of the internet. Go down that road at your own risk.

Don't tell me how hard you work. Tell me how much you get done. -- James J. Ling