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Mark Zuckerberg

For a CEO who has been accused of being “aloof and arrogant,” Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg sounded downright contrite last week, said Spencer E. Ante and Catherine Holahan in BusinessWeek. Speaking at the South by Southwest Interactive Festival in Austin, Zuckerberg, 23, admitted that his company had mishandled the social networking site’s notorious, and now-defunct, Beacon advertising program. Under the program, whenever Facebook members made an online purchase, their friends were instantly alerted. Facebook said it thought people would want to know what their friends were buying, but “many users said Beacon was an invasion of privacy.” They also resented that Facebook automatically enrolled them in the program, requiring them to opt out. Zuckerberg said the episode taught him that “almost all the mistakes we made, we didn’t give people enough control.” Zuckerberg also discussed Yahoo’s failed attempt last year to buy Facebook, for $1 billion. Zuckerberg turned down the offer, overruling some of his lieutenants. And what became of the dissenters? “We made some management changes,” he said.

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