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Facebook's Zuckerberg 'quite sure' he didn't sign away the company

Sharon Gaudin | July 23, 2010
Social network will launch an IPO 'when time is right,' CEO says in TV interview with ABC's Diane Sawyer

FRAMINGHAM, 22 JULY 2010 - Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg admits the company has made mistakes on privacy, and says he's "quite sure" he didn't sign a contract giving a former Web designer ownership of the company.

Zuckerberg, 26, talked about being at the helm of a burgeoning company, making mistakes, and issues facing the wildly popular social network in a far-reaching interview with TV news anchor Diane Sawyer on "ABC World News with Diane Sawyer" on Wednesday night.

The interview came the same day that Facebook announced it had signed up its 500 millionth user.

"I started Facebook when I was 19. I didn't know much about business," said Zuckerberg, when Sawyer asked him what he would have done differently along the road to making Facebook a worldwide social networking powerhouse.

"I would have done a lot of things differently, but I hope instead of making the mistakes I made, I would have made different mistakes," he said.

Zuckerberg also said the company will sell stock in an IPO "when it makes sense."

In the interview, Sawyer focused on Facebook being at the heart of the social networking revolution that has changed the way people stay in touch with friends and family.

Facebook, Sawyer said, gets eight new users every second and each user generally has about 130 connected friends .

Zuckerberg said he sees Facebook as being a very democratic media, giving people "a voice and power", but he also acknowledged that a lot of users have been angry and frustrated over the site's privacy policies and controls.

"Yah, we've made mistakes. For sure," he told Sawyer. And when she was asking him why they simply don't automatically set people's individual settings to make their information private from the get-go, he replied, "I think it's set in a way to help people share."

Facebook recently simplified its privacy controls after users complained that the settings were confusing and frustrating.

When unveiling the new simpler controls this past May, Zuckerberg said they had communicated badly with users about their privacy concerns.

In his conversation with Sawyer, Zuckerberg, who lives within walking distance of Facebook's offices in Palo Alto, Calif., even addressed a lawsuit that is raising questions about who actually owns the wildly popular social network.

Paul D. Ceglia, of Wellsville, N.Y., who filed the suit at the end of June, alleges that he signed a contract with Zuckerberg in 2003 that entitles him to 84% ownership of the company.

According to court documents, Ceglia claims he had a signed contract with Zuckerberg to design and build a site that eventually turned into what is today Facebook.

He also alleges he was paid $1,000 for the work and for a 50 per cent stake in the site, along with an extra 1 per cent for every day until the Web site was completed.

 

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