Nick O’Neill from The Unofficial Facebook Blog has recently interviewed Mark Zuckerberg (in a slightly different manner than Sarah Lacy). Here’s what Mark had to say:
So. Much. Tech.
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1) He believes the reaction to his interview with Sarah Lacy was overblown.
2) Mark claims that the 5,000 friend limit on Facebook is more of a technical limitation than anything else and even though users have been complaining about this, it is not something they plan on changing any time soon. However Nick adds:
“I received a different response from one Facebook employee later that night who claimed that it would only be a few lines of code to change. I’m sure there is more to it than that but it definitely is not a high priority at Facebook currently.”
3) Mark claims that Facebook does not want to compete with other application developers. However, this still didn’t stop them from sending out a message to thousands (if not millions) of college students recently telling them to install the March Madness application. Over the last few years, CBS and Facebook had worked together in creating and promoting this application. The fact that Facebook is not allowing other developers the same promotional capability for their applications is angering many developers and justly so. When asked about this controversial issue, Mark mentioned that this year they had actually messaged less users than in previous years.
4) Mark mentioned that he is focusing on building the Company for scale and will in the future place more of his responsibilities on others.
5) Mark thinks that in the future, the social web will move away from social networks and many of the new applications will move outside of Facebook.
6) When asked whether he would take a proactive role in fighting anti-semitism on Facebook, Mark said that rather than fighting hate movements on Facebook, the Company intends to continue focusing on providing useful communication tools allowing users to connect and discover new worldly perspectives.
7) Mark emphasized that Facebook’s aim is to create the most accurate representation of our “social graph.” However, as Nick points out:
“There’s only one problem with Facebook’s attempt so far though: all our interactions don’t take place within Facebook. We send instant messages to our friends, send at replies on Twitter, have telephone conversations and exchange emails. All of these things help construct the summation of our interpersonal communication.”
Mark agrees that Facebook needs to improve its messaging system and says that the Company will be focusing on providing new tools to users in regards to messaging. In fact, three days ago Michael Arrington reported that Facebook was launching a new instant messaging service and it will be available to the public soon, perhaps in the next week. Michael writes:
“I’m now hearing that this won’t be Jabber-compliant, at least at first. That means access will be Facebook only unless they create an API and/or third parties figure out a way to hack into the service as they’ve done with Yahoo, MSN and AIM in the past.”
8 ) Mark believes that the viralness is done for many Facebook applications and that the Company needs to incentivize differently in the future. Instead of a good application being one that has a lot of users, there will be other incentives. No further elaboration was given but Mark did mention that the system for deciding which are “good applications” would be automated.
As all of you know, I love Facebook but frankly I was a bit disappointed by some of Mark’s answers. For example, the fact that Facebook does not allow all applications an even playing field is quite disturbing to me. In addition, the fact that users are complaining about Facebook limitations and not receiving a response is not right either. It does however seem that Facebook will be providing more communication tools in the future and enabling users to more easily find “good apps” amongst the thousands of apps currently being offered, which is definitely something to look forward to.
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