Update: A Facebook spokesperson responds:
This error isn't specific to any one account. It's generated when a person has been blocked a certain large number of times. In very rare instances, a viral campaign will develop instructing lots of people to all wrongly block the same person. The purpose of this system is to protect the experience for people targeted by these campaigns. We're constantly working to improve our systems and are taking a closer look at this one.
As first noted by the folks at blockzuck.com, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is the social networking site's sole unblockable user. The news breaks as commentators are still struggling to come to terms with the more Big Brother-y aspects of the newly-introduced Facebook Places. Is Zuckerberg's special status harmless or hubris run amok? Voices from around the Internet are weighing in in.
Curious Timing As Gawker's Adrian Chen point out, it used to be possible to block Zuckerberg. It was the reason blockzuck.com was created in the first place. What prompted the change? "Maybe he or an engineer found out about Blockzuck.com and wanted to retaliate," suggests Chen. "Or maybe he just gets a kick out of creeping people out."
Harmless Don't read too much into Zuckerberg's unblockable status, advises Softpedia. It's just a case of engineers having "lighthearted fun" with the system. "The only reason why people might get upset over this," argues Softpedia, "is because the site is maybe too big for [these] kind of 'pranks.'"
Problematic Tech Crunch's Jack McKenna says this is the kind of thing Facebook needs to evolve beyond if they want to be seen as a global power. Writes McKenna:
Facebook is getting way too big and culturally important for things like this to continue. In 2005 it was cool for Zuckerberg to have a business card that said 'I’m CEO…Bitch.' And we can forgive early Facebook engineers from perusing confidential user data in their leisure time. But it’s time for this company to go through puberty and start acting more like a teenager than a fifth grader. If you want to block Zuckerberg, you should be able to block Zuckerberg.
Needless Mystery ZDNet's Zack Whittaker doesn't know if Facebook engineers are manipulating the site for personal benefit, but contends incidents like these leave the company vulnerable to such suspicions. Whittaker fears average users "will never have a straight, definitive answer" about what who has access to their personal information. Zuckerberg's "God account" further reduces transparency, contends Whittaker.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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