January 26, 2012
Facebook in 2005
Posted by Gordon Smith

Anticipating Facebook's IPO later this year, I thought it might be fun to look back at Facebook in an earlier time. Below is a video of Mark Zuckerberg speaking to students at Stanford. He observes, "you can't see the profiles of the people at other schools."

That was a design choice: "we realized that the people around you at your school are the people who you are going to want to look up mostly anyway." If they made the base of people who could access a profile too broad, people wouldn't share information, such as their cell phone number, as freely.

Zuckerberg recognizes that the design choice entailed tradeoffs in the utility of the site, but it's fascinating how differently most of us think about those tradeoffs today. It's hard to even remember when Facebook was so limited. Of course, although he doesn't use the word, privacy on Facebook still looms large.

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