Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Facebook's 60 Minutes of Fame?


CBS’s “60 Minutes” will air its Facebook piece on Sunday, and BoomTown is curious to see what take the iconic new magazine show will have on the hot and hyped social network and its founder, Mark Zuckerberg.

In clips it has released, Zuckerberg tells veteran correspondent Lesley Stahl that its stalkerish ad product Beacon–a half-baked ad scheme Facebook cooked up that sends information about your purchases on partner Web sites back to your profile on the service–needs work.

Really? I had no idea! Oh, wait, I did.

Zuckerberg goes on to assure Stahl and the viewing public that Beacon will be a good tool someday. “It might take some work for us to get this exactly right,” said Zuckerberg in the interview. “This is something we think is going to be a really good thing.”

Since the 23-year-old is no Martha Stewart, we would like to take his word for it, but will not for now.

Zuckerberg also tells Stahl not to expect an IPO in 2008–well, I was not expecting one, but thanks for the confirmation–meaning that Facebook would have to make do with the $300 million it recently got from Microsoft and Chinese rich man Li Ka-shing for small stakes in the company.

The investments, as faithful BoomTown readers know, gave Facebook an insane $15 billion valuation. Despite the start-up’s fast growth and impressive record of building a pretty good service, I hope Stahl gives that wacky number her patented dubious eyebrow raise she always throws at various and sundry midrange dictators talking democracy.

We’re also interested in seeing the piece for you’re-so-vain reasons, because I was also interviewed by Stahl for the segment.

No surprise, Stahl asked if I was biased because of my partner, the Google exec (see my voluminous disclosure about that and more here), and because Rupert Murdoch now owned both Facebook rival MySpace and Dow Jones (owner of this site).

Well, no to both, since I was slapping around Facebook long before Google declared Open Social war on it and also before News Corp. was our corporate pooh-bah (also, the idea of me doing Rupe’s social-networking dirty work is laughable).

But most of the interview was about the many challenging issues I and others have raised about Facebook. In her lean-forward style, Stahl asked me a range of questions, mostly having to do with my many pieces on the start-up and Zuckerberg.

An old pro at the shake-up game, she noted at the start that some had called me “nasty” and “mean” for my sharpish reporting on Facebook.

I confess! I confess! It’s all true!


That is, if by mean, Stahl meant my thinking the valuation was undeserved thus far, raising questions about the need for a magic business plan to support that valuation and, of course, my wondering if Zuckerberg was experienced enough to be Facebook’s CEO.

Then, of course you can call me Cruella De Poke.

How I wish CBS–paging Quincy Smith!–would allow embedding of its videos, but here is a link to one clip from the interview where Zuckerberg talks about Beacon. And here is another about Zuckerberg’s wacky days as a hacker at Harvard.

The show airs at 7 p.m.

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— David Pogue on why he’s joining Yahoo