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Is Facebook Evil?

By Matthew Yglesias  

"Is Facebook Evil?"

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Many are asking the question these days, and it’s worth pointing out that the company’s founder actually has a long record of shady ethics. Consider what he was up to before he launched Facebook:

Aping the style of hotornot.com, Facemash pitted Harvard students against one another, asking readers to view House facebook photos of two randomly selected undergraduates and choose which one was “hotter.”

The site was visited by 450 people within its first four hours online, after which Zuckerberg took the site down.

The site’s popularity with students, however, was not quite equaled by success among administrators.

“I put Facemash up on a Sunday night and within four hours my internet connection had been yanked,” he says.

Zuckerberg found himself brought before the Administrative Board for breaching security, violating copyrights and violating individuals’ privacy by using students’ online facebook photos without permission.

To be clear “online facebook photos” at this time did not refer to “Facebook photos.” Rather, he did something like break into the database of student ID card photos, and the appropriate the images in order to power his site.

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