- Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg got a taste of privacy invasion very close to home over the weekend.
- The New York Times reported the contents of his trash after following a San Francisco garbage picker named Jake Orta in an affluent part of the city.
- Items retrieved from Zuckerberg's trash included a working coffee machine, A&W diet root beer, and boxes of Chinese takeout.
Mark Zuckerberg has been battling a string of privacy scandals at Facebook, but this past weekend he might well be contemplating a privacy breach even closer to home.
After millions of Facebook users had their data exploited by Cambridge Analytica in 2016, the contents of Zuckerberg's trash have been scraped and reported on by The New York Times.
In “ A Privacy-Focused Vision for Social Networking ,” a 3,200-word essay that Zuckerberg posted to Facebook on March 6, he says he wants to “build a simpler platform that’s focused on privacy first.” In apparent surprise, he writes: “People increasingly also want to connect privately in the digital equivalent of the living room.” Sign up for The Download Your daily dose of what's up in emerging technology Zuckerberg’s essay is a power grab disguised as an act of contrition.
In an interview with The Times on Sunday, a trash picker named Jake Orta — who lives three blocks from Zuckerberg in a single-window apartment — described how he rummaged through San Francisco garbage bins for items to sell.
Among his targets are a blue recycling bin and a black landfill bin outside the Facebook CEO's $10 million home in the West Coast city. According to The Times, items retrieved by Orta from Zuckerberg's garbage include:
- A working coffee machine
- A working vacuum cleaner
- A hairdryer, again in working order
- A&W diet root-beer cans
- Junk mail
- The remains of a chicken dinner
- A stale baguette
- Boxes of Chinese takeout
At one point, The Times said, Orta pulled apart a black bag and said, "Just junk — nothing in there." As The Times pointed out, Orta and others are apparently undeterred by the fact that trash picking is illegal in California.
Zuckerberg has signaled recently that he intends to pivot Facebook to privacy and prioritize the personal information of his billions of users.
In recent weeks, Zuckerberg has attempted to address criticism of Facebook, making the case for end-to-end encryption and calling for more regulation, including "effective privacy and data protection."
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