Zuckerberg’s first notes on privacy now haunt Facebook in a suit

Mark Zuckerberg

If Mark Zuckerberg’s “youth notes” on privacy from 15 years ago still exist, lawyers are about to study them carefully.

A court-appointed arbitrator ordered Facebook Inc. to search for personal notes from the company’s founder that have not been destroyed and that may be relevant to a consumer lawsuit that accuses the social media giant of failing to safeguard privacy on websites. previous years. to the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

The company strongly objected to even reviewing the material, arguing that the only reason plaintiffs’ attorneys want to see it is to “put pressure on Facebook by harassing and embarrassing its CEO.”

It’s been a bad week for Facebook, which faced an unprecedented global outage of company sites and a damaging interview from a former whistleblower-turned-whistleblower that sent shares plummeting nearly 5% on Monday.

Lawyers suing the company said in a court docket that their interest in Zuckerberg’s writings from 2006, when he was 22 years old and Facebook was two years old, was awakened by a 17-page fragment of his notebooks that appeared in 2020 from the journalist. Steven Levy. book, “Facebook: The Inside Story”.

The notebooks “address issues at the core of this case: Did Facebook, under the leadership of Mark Zuckerberg, subvert its privacy promises to users to monetize the data they provided?” according to the presentation. Such thoughts are not academic here. Zuckerberg has been at the forefront of the campaign to assure users that Facebook cares about privacy. “

In response, Facebook noted that Levy reported that Zuckerberg said he destroyed the notebooks on the advice of lawyers who imagined them as possible evidence in future lawsuits. The company went on to argue that while some notebooks may still exist, any attempt to link the demand issues with what Zuckerberg thought so long ago is “not just an exaggeration. It’s stupid “.

“The plaintiffs’ case is not about ‘privacy’ in general terms, and it is certainly not about Mr. Zuckerberg’s nascent thoughts on privacy 15 years ago,” the company’s attorneys wrote in a presentation. “The plaintiffs’ claims arise from the Cambridge Analytica events that occurred 10 years after the notebook in question was allegedly written.”

The arbitrator appointed to resolve pre-trial information exchange disputes, known as a special teacher, concluded that the notebooks may be relevant based on Levy’s claim that they conveyed a “detailed version” of the “product vision” of Zuckerberg, which includes “a privacy ‘mixer. That allow users to control who would see an item on them.”

“It is possible that the information related to the design of future Facebook functions exists in the 2006 notebooks, if not in the later years notebooks,” the special teacher wrote in a Sept. 29 order. “In any case, Facebook cannot claim that the Zuckerberg notebooks are in fact not relevant without reviewing them.”

The case is In Re Facebook Consumer Privacy User Profile Litigation, 18-MD-02843, US District Court, Northern District of California (San Francisco).


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