Flaw exposes Facebook CEO's photos of puppy, food
NEW YORK — Newly unearthed private photos of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg may be a letdown if you were expecting raucous party scenes like the ones in "The Social Network" movie.
The photos are tame, some even adorable. They show that the straight-backed, ultra-focused leader of the world's largest online social network eats, cooks and likes to spend time with his girlfriend and puppy. Oh, and he hangs out with President Barack Obama, if time permits.
A Facebook security flaw, revealed this week, allowed users to gain access to the billionaire businessman's private pictures. Facebook blamed a software error in a feature that lets users report inappropriate content. The company said the error was quickly fixed, but some people were able to view a limited number of other people's photos, even if they were marked as private and meant for a small circle of friends.
The company did not say how many users were affected, or for how long. And though Zuckerberg's photos were G-rated, such a privacy flaw could hurt those who post more compromising photos — of underage drinking, parties or a day at the beach when they called out sick from work.
Facebook is no stranger to security flaws and privacy breaches. Last month, it settled with the Federal Trade Commission over claims it exposed details about users' lives without getting legally required consent.
"This is the latest in a long list of privacy concerns caused by Facebook, although most to date have been caused by bad decisions as opposed to bad code," said Michael Sutton, vice president of security research at Zscaler ThreatLabZ in an email. "This is a challenge for the largest social network on the planet — with great power comes great responsibility."
Zuckerberg's photos show him and his girlfriend wearing red aprons in a comfy suburban kitchen. And there he is, making sushi, giving out Halloween candy and holding two plates with fries and something that looks like chicken nuggets. It's unclear if the latter came from a rather large chicken he's holding in a different photo, feathers still on.
Zuckerberg's personal photos have been exposed in the past, including in 2009. Those have been similarly tame, such as one of him splayed on a couch, wearing slippers, a sweatshirt and pajama pants and clutching a teddy bear.
He's also readily shared some pictures with the public — one of his photo albums visible to anyone on Facebook is of "The Great Goat Roast of 2009," which looks exactly as it sounds. His dog, Beast, meanwhile, has his own Facebook page with nearly 452,000 followers. It offers playful glimpse into Zuckerberg's personal side with updates such as "Just beat dad in an epic game of tug of war" and a lot of photos.