THE BLOG
10/28/2013 02:32 pm ET Updated Dec 28, 2013

Introducing: The Zuckerberg Files

The dominance of social networking sites, such as Facebook, in contemporary life necessarily sparks unique issues in terms of information privacy and the ethics of sharing. As users and scholars of this dominant platform, we are increasingly confronted with new questions like:

  • What is the purpose/value of sharing information online?
  • What are reasonable expectations of privacy in social networking environments?
  • What kind of control should users have over their information?
  • What ethical responsibilities do social networking sites themselves have to ensure users are able to control their information flows online?
  • Should law or policy exist to manage how social networking providers can access and utilize users personal information?

An important step towards addressing these concerns is to gain a better understanding of how Facebook sees its own role in within these debates, and how it frames these privacy and ethical issues within its own discourse.

Today, after months of hard work by many hands, I'm happy to announce the launch of The Zuckerberg Files, a digital archive of all public utterances of Facebook's founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg. Over 100 full-text transcripts and nearly 50 video files are available for researchers to download, analyze, and scrutinize.

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The Zuckerberg Files represents an important step towards this broader understanding, approached through the lens of Mark Zuckerberg's own language. By gaining a better understanding of how Facebook's founder and CEO conceives of his own company's role in the policy and ethical debates surrounding social networking, we will be better suited to critically engage in a dialogue on privacy and Facebook, inform design and policy recommendations, and increase user awareness and literacy.

What is The Zuckergberg Files?

The Zuckerberg Files is a digital archive of all public utterances of Facebook's founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg. It includes transcripts and bibliographic data of all publicly-available content representing the voice and words of Zuckerberg, including blog posts, letters to shareholders, media interviews, public appearances and product presentations, and quotes in other sources.

The Zuckerberg Files is hosted on the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee's Digital Commons, and consists of two digital collections. The "Transcripts" collection include full-text transcriptions of all the content in the digital archive of Zuckerberg's public statements. The "Videos" collection represents a subset of the collection with archived copies available video files documenting certain Zuckerberg appearances.

Why do we need The Zuckerberg Files?

The dominance of social networking sites, such as Facebook, in contemporary life sparks unique issues of information privacy and the ethics of sharing online. An important step towards addressing these concerns is to gain a better understanding of how Facebook sees its own role in within these debates, and how it frames these privacy and ethical issues within its own discourse. The Zuckerberg Files represents an important step towards understanding, approached through the lens of Mark Zuckerberg's own language. By gaining a better understanding of how Facebook's founder and CEO conceives of his own company's role in the policy and ethical debates surrounding social networking, we will be better suited to critically engage in a dialogue on privacy and Facebook, inform design and policy recommendations, and increase user awareness and literacy.

How can I access The Zuckerberg Files?

The Zuckerberg Files is an open-access public archive. The bibliographic and metadata are available to the public. However, in adherence with the "Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Scholarly Research in Communication", access to the full-text transcripts and archived video files is limited to scholars doing research in a relevant area. Scholars wishing to gain access to the full archive should email access@zuckerbergfiles.org with their name, affiliation, and a brief description of the research project or purpose for which the materials will be put.