Mike Isaac

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Scholars Archive All of Mark Zuckerberg’s Public Utterances

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg at the Facebook Home launch event.Fact-checking Facebook just got a whole lot easier.

That’s because a set of scholars have started archiving each and every public appearance made by CEO Mark Zuckerberg, all stored on the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee’s Digital Commons website. As of today, it includes more than 100 full-text transcripts from public appearances and product releases — including a few from our D: All Things Digital conferences — as well as many of Zuckerberg’s videotaped appearances.

The idea, according to the site, is to gain insight from Zuckerberg’s thinking — arguably the biggest driving force on Facebook as a whole — by carefully watching what he says and how it changes over time.

“By gaining a better understanding of how Facebook’s founder and CEO conceives of his own company’s role in the policy and ethical debates surrounding social networking, we will be better suited to critically engage in a dialogue on privacy and Facebook, inform design and policy recommendations, and increase user awareness and literacy,” the site states.

Makes sense to me, especially considering how many times Facebook has pushed out a massive product release, faced user outcry over privacy concerns, and slightly — though not entirely — rolled back some changes in response. Scholars Chris Hoofnagle and Michael Zimmer, the two behind the project, chalk that up to Facebook’s overall “Machiavellian” public relations strategy.

Whatever the case, I’ll be happy to have a single repository for all Zuckerbergian thought, if only to keep his point of view more organized over time.

The archive’s bibliographic and metadata are openly available to all. If you want to dig deeper and get full access, you’ll have to apply with a scholarly reason on the site.

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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