Zuckerberg Ripped in Media by Former Friends, Partners
When eWEEK asked whether or not Zuckerberg is making the donation to counter the bad press the movie is expected to bring, a Facebook spokesperson said, "I'm afraid we have nothing to announce." At least one social media analyst who follows Facebook closely was hesitant to attribute the donation announcement to the timing of The Social Network."He's been the target of several scathing books and plenty of angry blog posts about his opinions on personal privacy and Facebook's privacy settings, " said Ray. "I'm inclined to feel that this is part of a longer term effort for Zuckerberg to give back to others while improving his reputation rather than it being a specific broadside at the upcoming movie." Indeed, Zuckerberg, whose fortune Forbes estimated at $6.9 billion, has often been accused of being cavalier about user privacy. The company has weathered several privacy concerns, dating back to a failed advertising program called Beacon in 2007, up through its Instant Personalization effort this past spring. Learning from such past resistance, the company was largely praised for the privacy measures it provided for Facebook Places earlier this summer. Fair or foul, Zuckerberg has seen some nasty allegations mount just ahead of the film's opening. Content ranges from the publishing of instant messages in which he expressed insensitivity about people and discussed cutting them out with "dirty tricks," to an unflattering anecdote made public by Zuckerberg's fellow Harvard classmate, Aaron Greenspan.
Calling the donation an "extraordinary sum for a school system that can desperately use the cash," Forrester Research analyst Augie Ray noted that while the timing of this donation might seem coincidental with the release of the film, Zuckerberg's image has been in need of aid for some time.