How Mark Zuckerberg apologizes: "stuff happened, and it's unfortunate" (not that it's any of my doing)

Facebook has an established pattern: they obliterate privacy defaults in their system, wipe out their users' stated privacy preferences, and then, after a hue and cry, Mark Zuckerberg emerges and apologizes, and the system is reset to a level that is slightly less private than before. At All Things D, Liz Gannes runs through a retrospective of Zuck's last 25 (!) apologies, and finds a common thread.

Zuckerberg almost always tells users that change is hard, often referring back to the early days of Facebook when it had barely any of the features people know and love today. He says sharing and a more open and connected world are good, and often he says he appreciates all the feedback.

Most of all, Zuckerberg seems to take pride in offering an explicit, earnest apology, but doesn’t actually admit he was wrong, just that he’s sorry for how things were rolled out or perceived...

“Sometimes we move too fast” seemed more of a brushoff than a real apology. “It’s a comment on the execution of a policy, not on the policy itself,” John Paczkowski wrote.

That brings us to the present day, where we have what turns out to be a textbook Zuckerberg apology acknowledging the FTC privacy settlement. This time, Zuckerberg tries to argue that Facebook has done more good than harm on privacy throughout its existence.

The Apologies of Zuckerberg: A Retrospective (via JWZ)


  1. All would be forgiven if FB would just let me set my newsfeed to show the most recent items first and just leave that setting the f*ck alone. Zuckerberg can take his “relevance” algorithms and shove them his asterisk. And while he’s at it, yeah Zuck, leave all my other settings alone too.

    1. That’s not going to happen, because they are measuring whether you give a crap about what order things appear in or not. Then they sell that fact.

      I’m this >< close to deleting my account, though.

      1. You won’t regret it. And if you do, they force you to wait 2 weeks anyway so theres plenty of time to reassure yourself its all a bunch of BS.

        1. Delete your FB. Best move you’ll ever make. It will make you happy (but not at first – get through that 2 week withdrawl).

  2. Cory, Gannes actually offers a run-down of 10 apologies spread out over Z.’s last 25 posts (the other 15 posts being self-pats on the back).  But an excellent analysis nonetheless.

  3. Google really should change their motto from “Don’t be evil” to “Don’t be Facebook.” It gives them something more concrete to avoid, as Facebook is evil personified.

    Unlike most people I am not disappointed in Facebook — mostly because, unlike most people, I won’t have anything to do with them because I don’t trust them as far as I could throw a fit.

  4. Wasn’t the entire, deeper premise of “Facebook” inherently anti-privacy, despite the “talk” about settings and security, and privacy promises, etc? I was on FB for exactly one day, got creeped out by it, and quit…or at least I *think* I quit. 

    On the other hand, it probably doesn’t matter by now, when the NSA (and other alphabetic apparatus of Big Bro) can capture every keystroke…Nevermind!

  5. Thank God we still have some small semblance of a government for the people that at least weakly attempt to regulate this idiot.

    Of course, if the corporatist republicans, blue dog democrats and DINOs have their way… we won’t even have that any longer.

  6. I’ve been FaceBook free for almost a year now – I don’t miss it.

    The only downside has been for you poor folks who have had to put up with more of my comments and opinions that used to just go on FB.

  7. FB is just ridiculous.  So was Myspace.  And Bebo.  All of them!  Except some professional ones, that behave well and don’t attempt to harvest your internal thoughts for monetisation.

    And the Z?  We all know how he got his jump from being a tagnut to being a billionaire.  No surprises what he delivers!

  8. Anyone else notice that now resists Safari’s ‘private browsing’ feature and reports exactly whose profiles you’ve been looking at in your browser history?  Pretty BFD, I’d say.  Can you say loss of consortium?  

  9. Zfuckergerb is by definition a megalomaniacal dictator.
    Ironically so were Hitler and Stalin.

    Occupy fb and opt out.
    Hit the streets and occupy and socialize your beautiful self.

  10. Zuck is just another thief, want to bet the DHS has him feeding them all sorts of goodies.

    Funny it how it is homeland securiy, the land is to be secure…. F the people.
    I closed my account, I will not be a part of the BS

  11. In the future, I see a world where Facebook has warning labels just like cigarettes:

    “WARNING: using this product will eventually leak all the nasty details of your sex life to your mom on purpose just to see how you react.”

    And yet, for some reason, nobody will ever change their habits. Even when Diaspora and Google+ are right there.

    BTW: I do *love* Diaspora I just can’t get any of my friends to use it. 

    1. Man, I forgot about Diaspora.  Last I heard it was still in beta.  Is it good?  I’d love to try it out.  I bailed on FB early last year, and though I don’t miss it, I do miss all my family (and many of my friends) who still use the damned thing.  I’m always the last one in my family to hear any news, and they’re constantly nagging me to come back.  I’m on G+, but only my in-laws are there, and most of them post only on FB.  :^(

      Still, no matter how much I miss them, nobody will ever talk me into going back to Facebook.  That is one rotten company.  I’m not entirely sure that Google is a whole lot better, but it certainly can’t be worse.

  12. I liked how he claimed that he was ‘the first to admit that we’ve made a bunch of mistakes’. Actually, it appears he was the last, considering it took a court case to drag out that admission.

  13. Correction: Zuckerberg hasn’t written 25 apologies, he’s written 25 posts, of which ten were written “to address complaints.”

    From paragraph deux:

    “Of the 25 posts Zuckerberg has published on Facebook’s corporate blog in the past five years — including today’s acknowledging a long-term privacy settlement with the FTC — I count 10 that were written to address complaints. (The rest are his personal celebrations of milestones and new products.)”

    1. I was just about to mention the same thing. I saw that and scrolled up to see who wrote it, and thought, “Cory! You’re better then than!”
      Xeni I could understand, she’s a little more prone to fact-shading, but I TRUST Cory.

      1. I think in this case it would be politely called ‘giving the benefit of the doubt.’

        Or possibly just ‘trying not to make the target look like a total douchbag.’

        I dunno.

  14. I deleted my account two months ago. I miss the communication with friends but am not willing to serve as a marketing commodity to pay for it. I talk to friends about Google + and Diaspora, but amazingly few seem to care or understand about having their personal lives and privacy ripped off like Fb does. Hope Zuckerberg & co. keep pushing the envelope – some day soon they should step over the line so profoundly that people realize there are other platforms, and that “social media” does not equate everyone being on Facebook.

  15. haven’t really used my facebook in about a year. Finally decided to pull the plug (or pull and wait two weeks for them to finalize.)

    I don’t really advertise google+ since that’d meana having to get a gmail account which none of them really want to do.

    What I”m wondering is how long Google will go from what it is now to changing settings behind your back and the like?

    Yes I’m aware google sells useage data to companies. Supposedly anonomyzed, but still, you are part of marketing if you use them.

    I’m fine with this for the time being.

  16. Zuck’s regrets are awfully similar to Reed Hastings’ smarmy, backhanded apologies: “Gosh darnit, we at Netwflix are really sorry that you’re all two stupid to handle 2 websites, so we’re just gonna go ahead and not do that whole Qwikster thing…”

  17. So Cory, if Facebook is that evil (and I agree, I’ve always stayed far away from it), why don’t you remove it as a boingboing login route?

  18. Personally, you couldn’t entice me to do social networking.  But when I made a foray to the online version of my local newspaper, I see that they now only take comments via Facebook.  Comments on local news sites (at least in smaller cities and towns) are a pretty important part of city politics, similar to getting a letter to the editor published.  People without FB are now relegated to slightly lower political participation.

  19. When i tried to delete my account that bastard zuckerberg made me battle my profile in an epic game of yahtzee….

  20. I still don’t get it. I know,  “Facebook is evil” and all that jazz but, if you don’t want your life to be public, on the internet, just. Don’t post it on Facebook/Twitter/whatever.

    (I don’t want to fight, just my opinion.)

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