Zuckerberg’s Private Life Seemingly at Odds with Facebook Mantra of Sharing

Mr. Zuckerberg, head of Facebook, is being sued by a developer in Palo Alto, Calif., who claims that Mr. Zuckerberg reneged on promises to provide him with business connections; the Facebook founder also insists all contractors doing work on his home sign non-disclosure agreements.CreditRobert Galbraith/Reuters

His chief of operations at Facebook, Sheryl Sandberg, is famously quoted as saying that sharing on Facebook reveals our authentic self.  His sister, Randi Zuckerberg, a former marketing executive at Facebook and author of Dot Complicated, proclaims that by sharing your authentic self online, your personal and professional life will reap the benefits. People shouldn’t hide behind pseudonyms or create any sort of separation between personal and private life.

“A lot of the studies that we looked at in the book show that it actually makes you more likeable, more successful at work when your colleagues know a little bit more about your personal life,” Ms. Zuckerberg said. “People want to work with the kind of person that they’d want to go for a beer with.”

Evidently her brother doesn’t want to go for a beer with a lot of people.

Workers at the site of what seems to be Mark Zuckerberg’s new home in San Francisco.CreditJason Henry for The New York Times

According to the NY Times reporter sleuthing whether Zuckerberg and other techies in Silicon Valley made their contractors sign NDA’s, he went up to one workman standing near a house alleged to be owned by Zuckerberg , identified himself as a reporter and asked if he was working on Mark Zuckerberg’s house.

“[I’m] working on a house,” he said. He sipped a Burger King soda and smoked a cigarette and he said he was an electrician taking a lunch break — but that was all he’d disclose.

“Are you talking about Zuckerberg’s place?” I asked. It’s been widely reported that this is his property, though the public record says the owner is SFRP L.L.C.

“I can’t say who it is, and I can’t say who it isn’t,” the electrician said.

Had he signed an N.D.A.?

“All the workers sign them,” he conceded. Conversation over.

A man handing out worker badges, when asked the same question, gave the reporter a card with an email address for Facebook public relations, but no name.

An email sent to the contact at Facebook provided by the work site overseer was not returned.  A Facebook spokeswoman said the company did not comment on Mr. Zuckerberg’s personal affairs.

The litigation involving the Facebook founder stems from a developer selling a property to Mr. Zuckerberg at a reduced price in exchange for the Facebook CEO to make introductions for him.  The developer said Zuckerberg reneged on the agreement.

What’s the lesson here?  There seem to be many but what stands out is the fact that, for Mark Zuckerberg at least, as well as many other Silicon Valley mansion owners, the Vegas motto also applies, “What happens at my home stays at my home.”  You can forgot all about that “authentic self” stuff they want you to share on Facebook.  It’s all about the privacy.


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