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Facebook CEO Allegedly Mocked Users For Sharing Personal Data With Him At Harvard

First Posted: 05/13/10 03:13 PM ET Updated: 05/25/11 05:30 PM ET

Mark Zuckerberg Ims Privacy

Business Insider has posted the transcript of an instant message conversation that allegedly took place between Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and a "college friend" while Zuckerberg was still at Harvard.

Although its authenticity has not been confirmed, the IM conversation is likely to do little to allay growing concerns over Facebook's privacy policies.

"SAI sources" say that the exchange was "between a 19-year-old Mark Zuckerberg and a friend shortly after Mark launched The Facebook in his dorm room."

In the electronic back-and-forth, Zuckerberg allegedly told his friend "if you ever need info about anyone at Harvard [...] just ask" and called users who had shared information with him "dumb f--ks."

The conversation must be taken with a grain of salt: Zuckerberg was young, and likely joking. However, as Venture Beat suggests, "the message makes it clear that Zuckerberg was aware of the potential invasions of privacy to which users of The Facebook were often unwittingly exposing themselves."

Zuckerberg's stance on privacy seems to have evolved considerably over the years--compare his position in 2008 with the one he articulated in 2010.

UPDATE: Facebook has contacted Business Insider with a statement on the alleged IM conversation, saying, "The privacy and security of our users’ information is of paramount importance to us. We’re not going to debate claims from anonymous sources or dated allegations that attempt to characterize Mark's and Facebook's views towards privacy." Read the rest of the comment here or read the full IM transcript here.

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Filed by Bianca Bosker  |