Zuckerberg is on Google+. Surprised?

Filed as Editorial on July 4, 2011 1:39 am

Word is going around that “Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg registered a Google+ account” without any confirmation from the Facebook founder.
An article in International Business Times in San Francisco says:

As of Saturday evening, he had 22 people in his Circle and 2994 people added him on their Circles.

According to a tweet from allegedly from Robert Scoble:  “…Zuckerberg just texted me back. Says “Why are people so surprised that I’d have a Google account?”

Verifying any truth from the tweet seems problematic.

First because Facebook as well as other social networks don’t authenticate or ask people to prove their identify when people are creating an account.  Second, there seems to be a question of whether Scoble is really Scoble.  Third, it isn’t clear whether the Zuckerberg purportedly mentioned in the tweet is referring to a particular Google service such as Google+.

Of course, most people won’t overlook the fact that accounts can be faked or that identities can be purchased online:

Online, for as little as $14, you can pick up a new identity, complete with working U.S. bank account, credit card with security code, date of birth and government-issued social security number.

Assuming that Scoble is really Scoble, the Google+ Zuckerberg is really the Facebook founder, and that particular Zuckerberg meant that he had a Google+ account, why would people be surprised?

Certainly, one should expect competitors to spy on each other and the Facebook founder registering a Google+ account isn’t exactly a case of ‘industrial espionage’ — after all, what could Zuckerberg learn from scoping out the front end of a website?  Moreover, if Zuckerberg really wanted to check out Google+, he could have just asked somebody else to do it for him or used a fictitious account.

This is not the first time that people have tried to capitalize on Zuckerberg’s name or reputation.  Lovely Faces, a dating website, scraped the photos and profiles of Facebook users over a period of time.  And in case you missed the irony of it, here’s something to consider:

Maybe Zuckerberg can make use of his billions to combat this. After all, scraping people’s information is a violation of Facebook’s terms. Oh wait, Zuckerberg did the same thing when he scraped photos of women when he was still in Harvard to create FaceMash.

So, if the reported Google+ account of Zuckerberg is fake, what does it really achieve?

Well, obviously, a lot of hype is going on around Google+ and with Zuckerberg joining the new social networking site, that will certainly add fuel to the buzz — even if it’s just for a couple of hours.

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