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Mark Zuckerberg's iPhone dis -- a lesson in privacy

By Alexandra Petri

Mark Zuckerberg is complaining about his iPhone? Excuse me while I cry into my Blackberry.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg bought a new iPhone recently after his Blackberry started hurting his thumbs. My Blackberry makes my thumbs ache, too, as does thumb-wrestling, speed-changing channels to see who has the “fastest clicker in the West” and giving really enthusiastic reviews to movies, but I deal with it.

But then all heck broke loose -- Mark Zuckerberg posted on Facebook: "This week I got an iPhone. This weekend I got four chargers so I can keep it charged everywhere I go and a land line so I can actually make phone calls.”

I can’t say I’m entirely sympathetic to this predicament.

Admittedly, I live in the largely iPhone-less wasteland known as Washington, where the occasional iPhone that strays outdoors is immediately mobbed by hordes of Blackberries and beaten until the only functioning app is the one that makes plaintive kitten noises. But, still, Zuckerberg complaining about his iPhone is like Zuckerberg complaining that there are too many zeroes on the end of his net worth or that people keep giving him all their personal information free of charge.

And if you look even more closely, he’s adding insult to injury, uploading his complaint about the iPhone from his iPhone itself. This is like telling your waiter to go complain about himself to the manager, except that the iPhone quietly does what it’s told.

Much ink, both metaphorical and literal, has been spilled over Facebook's ever-changing privacy settings and its failure to alert account-holders that all their statuses and much of their information are now public by default. But this sword is finally cutting the man who wields it -- thanks to these very settings, the whole world now knows that Mark Zuckerberg needs four iPhone chargers. Maybe this snafu will show him what a poor choice these privacy defaults are. The misguided message is gone now, and the iPhone may be next to go -- he says he might get an Android -- but the comment will stay on the record forever.

By Alexandra Petri  | June 15, 2010; 4:30 PM ET
Categories:  Petri  | Tags:  Alexandra Petri  
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