Mark Zuckerberg has been deleting his past messages on Facebook — and you can't

In the middle of the Cambridge Analytica data harvesting controversy, the Facebook founder has been erasing his private chats from Facebook servers. So why isn't this an option for anyone else?

Depending on who you ask, Mark Zuckerberg is either the boy-wonder billionaire of the tech world or a shark-eyed sociopath who will sell your digital persona to nefarious Russian oligarchs. Either way, he's a 33-year-old tech dude with too much money and a penchant for Ayn Rand, therefore you can't expect too much from him in the way of empathy. 

So when it came to light this week that he's been deleting his own sent messages from Facebook — something that users themselves can't do — nobody was exactly surprised. But the news comes in the middle of a category-5 shitstorm for Zuckerberg thanks to the 87 million accounts affected by the Cambridge Analytica scandal, and it has only made Facebook's problems worse.

What happened is: if you'd had a chat with Mark Zuckerberg on Facebook and went back to look at it recently, you would've noticed that it appeared like a one-sided conversation as Zuck's answers were cleared. This is a feature only available to Facebook's top brass: regular users don't have that feature. Indeed, quite the opposite is true: every single click you've ever made on Facebook is recorded. So this action sends the message to regular users (and everyone else) that Zuck and crew are somehow above everyone else.

Facebook was quick to say that the reason for Zuck's missing messages was due to increased security after the 2014 Sony hack where the South Korean tech behemoth's private emails and communication — some of which was definitely not meant for public consumption — was aired out to dry by North Korean hackers objecting to the release of the Seth Rogen and James Franco movie The Interview, the plot of which focuses on killing North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. It's fair to say that if Facebook wasn't embroiled in the Russiagate scandal that this ol' "message erasing" thing probably wouldn't be big news. But in the context of today's headlines, it couldn't come at a worse time for both Facebook and Zuckerberg as it makes both Mark... and his company... look like they have something shady to hide precisely at the point when all the world is watching. 

Lest we forget, this is the same Mark Zuckerberg who, in 2004, called users who gave him their data "dumb fucks". And while it's safe to say we've all moved on spiritually and intellectually from 2004, perhaps some regulation is in order. 

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

Dead – yes, dead – tardigrade found beneath Antarctica

A completely unexpected discovery beneath the ice.

(Goldstein Lab/Wkikpedia/Tigerspaws/Big Think)
Surprising Science
  • Scientists find remains of a tardigrade and crustaceans in a deep, frozen Antarctic lake.
  • The creatures' origin is unknown, and further study is ongoing.
  • Biology speaks up about Antarctica's history.
Keep reading Show less

A world map of Virgin Mary apparitions

She met mere mortals with and without the Vatican's approval.

Strange Maps
  • For centuries, the Virgin Mary has appeared to the faithful, requesting devotion and promising comfort.
  • These maps show the geography of Marian apparitions – the handful approved by the Vatican, and many others.
  • Historically, Europe is where most apparitions have been reported, but the U.S. is pretty fertile ground too.
Keep reading Show less

Why are women more religious than men? Because men are more willing to take risks.

It's one factor that can help explain the religiosity gap.

Photo credit: Alina Strong on Unsplash
Culture & Religion
  • Sociologists have long observed a gap between the religiosity of men and women.
  • A recent study used data from several national surveys to compare religiosity, risk-taking preferences and demographic information among more than 20,000 American adolescents.
  • The results suggest that risk-taking preferences might partly explain the gender differences in religiosity.
Keep reading Show less