Mike Isaac

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Mark Zuckerberg Becomes a Landlord

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg at the Facebook Home launch event.Irony of ironies: Mark Zuckerberg is going above and beyond to keep his privacy in check.

As the Silicon Valley Business Journal first reported, Zuckerberg purchased a series of houses near his own Palo Alto home earlier this year.

Apparently, Zuckerberg isn’t going to build a mansion for himself with his new property. He plans to continue leasing the homes to the existing tenants — essentially characterizing it as a defensive play against an opportunistic land developer.

Indeed, according to real estate records, in December of last year, the home directly behind Zuckerberg’s was sold to an LLC associated with Iconiq Capital, a San Francisco firm that handles financial accounts for many Silicon Valley luminaries — including Zuckerberg and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg.

A source familiar with the transaction also confirmed the accuracy of the report.

Zuckerberg paid a reported $30 million-plus premium for the four properties combined.

Despite the ridiculous prices he paid, I don’t particularly fault the famous founder for wanting his personal privacy in his own neighborhood, especially considering that he has one of the most famous faces in the world. I imagine, too, it would feel rather invasive if potential new next-door neighbors moved into their houses based on the fact that Zuckerberg would be nearby.

That is to say, if that “defensive play” line is the whole story.

Facebook representatives declined to comment.

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik