All Things D: Facebook Founder Sweats It Out Over Privacy

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg did something yesterday that he said he never does: he took off his hoodie.

While being interviewed onstage on the second day of The Wall Street Journal's tech-focused D Conference, the Facebook founder appeared uncomfortable and sweaty as he was asked about the privacy fiasco his company has dealt with in recent months. The conference is in its final day today and has featured interviews with a series of big-name guests, including Apple Chief Steve Jobs, who spoke on Tuesday, and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, who spoke today.

Among the more interesting things Zuckerberg shared was how few developers work on the site's various features, according to The New York Times' recap:

Mr. Zuckerberg also said that Facebook remained a relatively small company with just one person working on its instant messaging software, 11 people working on its news feed, which is used by 250 million people daily, and just a dozen people working on its search feature, which gets used millions of times a day.

Yet, the company employs over 1,400 employees.

Zuckerberg said he has set no date for taking his company public and he doesn't think about it much. He also said that Facebook is "getting privacy right on the whole." The social network suffered a public backlash to changes made over the last couple months to how and what personal information is shared. New, simpler privacy settings were recently introduced.

On Tuesday, Steve Jobs addressed a range of issues from a string of recent suicides at a Chinese supplier's factory to the future of the PC.

Jobs said that the recent suicides at major Apple supplier Foxconn were "very troubling," but pointed out that the suicide rate at the 400,000-strong factory is still lower, on average, than in the United States. He also compared PC's to trucks when the country was still an agrarian nation: back then, trucks were necessary; today, trucks are just one of many options. (Presumably, he thinks mobile devices, such as the iPad and iPhone, would gain some of the marketshare lost to PC's.) Jobs also explained the origins of the iPad, according to The Journal's live blog of the event:

"I'll tell you a secret. It began with the tablet. I had this idea about having a glass display, a multitouch display you could type on with your fingers. I asked our people about it. And six months later, they came back with this amazing display. And I gave it to one of our really brilliant UI guys. He got [rubber band] scrolling working and some other things, and I thought, 'my God, we can build a phone with this!' So we put the tablet aside, and we went to work on the iPhone."

Speaking today, Microsoft Chief Steve Ballmer disagreed with Jobs on at least one point: the PC era is far from over, he said. Although, as The Journal points out "Mr. Ballmer's argument is partly one of semantics since he said he regards tablet devices, like the iPad, as simply a new form of PC rather than an entirely new category."

Here's Zuckerberg responding to a few questions before deciding to doff his hoodie at the two-minute mark:



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Niraj Chokshi is a former staff editor at TheAtlantic.com, where he wrote about technology. He is currently freelancing and can be reached through his personal website, NirajC.com. More

Niraj previously reported on the business of the nation's largest law firms for The Recorder, a San Francisco legal newspaper. He has also been published in The Hartford Courant, The Seattle Times and The Age, in Melbourne, Australia. He's also a longtime programmer and sometimes website designer.

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