Zuckerberg appears to Think Google Plus Will Slay Facebook!

I’ve been using Google Plus almost as long as it has been around, which is a sneaky way of saying I am a noob to it :) Frankly, at this point I do not see anything particularly novel or sensational. I just haven’t seen the killer feature that will vanquish the Facebook megalith, but perhaps I am just not enough of a visionary. I do however think I am missing something really big about Google Plus because Mark Zuckerberg is redefining terms in order to manufacture a reason to criticize Google Plus. If Mark had a real criticism you know he would say it, but when Mark is redefining common terms in order to build something to criticize it makes me think he sees something ground breaking in Google Plus, so perhaps I should pay a bit more attention.

In an interview with TechCrunch Zuckerberg is quoted as saying “The definition of groups is . . . everyone inside the group knows who else is in the group”

There is absolutely nothing in the definition of groups that says everyone inside the group knows who else is in the group. Do you really think that everyone inside of Alcoholics Anonymous knows every other person in the group? Do you think every Catholic knows who every other catholic is? I’m on closed mailing lists and I don’t know everyone who is on some of the lists.

We must arrive at one of two conclusions. Either Mark Zuckerberg is ignorant of what a group is, or he is lying. It just seems highly improbable that Zuckerberg got into Harvard without knowing what a group is. By the way, students at Harvard are a group. Do you think Mark knew every other student at Harvard? Students who have ever attended Harvard are another group. Do you think that Zuckerberg knows every student who ever attended Harvard?

This leaves us with the logical conclusion that Zuckerberg was lying about Google Plus and you have to wonder why he would do that. Occam’s razor would suggest that Zuckerberg is really scared of Google Plus and being unable to find enough to criticize about it he had to manufacture criticism by redefining the term “group” in order to attack something about Google Plus.

If Zuckerberg is so scared that he’s engaging in a public misinformation campaign then maybe I am missing something about Google Plus… perhaps it does have significant potential.

Randy Abrams
Director of Technical Education
Cyber Threat Analysis Center
ESET North America

Author ESET Research, ESET

  • kurt wismer

    re: zuckerberg ang groups
    that's pretty hilarious because that's not even how the "groups" feature in facebook works (either the original one or the new one). where does zuck come up with that stuff?

  • lyecdevf

    Just because he went to Harvard does not mean he is smart.  He has never struck me as an inteligent person so I figure he just does not know waht a group is because the notion of a group surpases his insight in human affairs.

  • Li

    Apparently you've failed to understand the comment.
    Zuckerberg intended to express by means of hyperbole that an important feature of many social groups is knowing the identities of the other group members. Not all human language is literal.
    We must arrive at one of two conclusions. Either Randy Abrams is ignorant of how figurative language is used, or he is practicing pointless pedantry due to lack of anything meaningful to write.

    • David Harley

      Or maybe he thinks that sometimes precision is more useful than oratory. Actually, I don’t know exactly what Zuckerberg meant because all I have to go on is an edited quote in the TechCrunch article, but given his remarks in other contexts equating privacy and lack of integrity, I’m not convinced this was simply a rhetorical flourish.

  • David Iversen

    The big thing about Google+ to me and my friends who use it, is that it's very obvious what is visible to which groups (oops, circles) of people.
    I think Zuckerberg's trying to say that fb's lack of visibility of the scope of sharing is OK because you know who's in your groups so couldn't possibly have a problem.  But fb's privacy is very obtuse and keeps catching people out.  As an example, a friend of mine was recently in trouble after his boss saw an photo he'd rather not have been visible to him.  It was because one of his friends tagged someone in the photo who was a friend of his boss.  That tagging made the photo visible to his boss even though his own privacy setting would have hidden it.  It was down to the "Let friends of people tagged in my photos and posts see them." checkbox, which defaults to being set, within the fb privacy settings.
    I can't see Google+ going really mass market until games and apps come on stream for it though.  Another handy thing about circles is I can be really geeky with fellow techies without boring my other friends and family, but only my geeky friends and family are on Google+ at the moment.

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