BBC Gets Inside Facebook… and Mark Zuckerberg

December 8, 2011


BBC’s Emily Maitlis, headed to the US to report on life inside Facebook, from its inner workings to how it uses personal information to custom advertise to Facebook users. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is interviewed throughout. I felt like this documentary covered some key topics but that Emily Matis did not really use her time well with the young entrepreneur.

Mark Zuckerberg

The documentary highlights Zucks as the ‘real guy’ behind the estimated $100 billion worth Internet start up. Zuckerberg is real with Emily Matis as he discusses how he wants a more connected world and for people to be OK with sharing their private information.

Mark Zuckerberg

Image by: b_d_solis

The issue of Zuckerberg ‘poaching’ Sheryl Sandberg from Google is addressed in the documentary too: Zuckerberg approached Sheryl to join Facebook to help him turn Facebook from a start-up to a profitable business and she left Google and joined the Facebook team to do exactly this.

Sandberg talks about how he not only had a vision which she understood but a realness to him, like wearing the same clothes to work and living in a one-room apartment with only a futon until not so recently.

Maitlis points out that this image is what keeps people trusting in Facebook, because they trust Mark. An innovator who has not let his success transform into indulging in material goods or letting his fame go to his head.

The documentary even points out that you can see Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook page to keep reminding people that he believes in what he preaches: openness for all.


Image by: k_berberi

Facebook advertising & privacy issues

The documentary focuses largely on how Facebook addresses its privacy issues. Zuckerberg is firm with Maitlis that privacy is something he takes very seriously and the trust of his users is what keeps the social networking  going.

Maitlis talks to some of the senior members of staff at Facebook on the conflicting issue of Facebook users being targeted by what they share and whether Liking fan pages for products is as transparent as Facebook thinks it is. Here is a snippet of Maitlis’s most heated part in the documentary, talking about the Like button:

Maitlis asks if people really know, if by Liking a page that they are in fact signing off to be target advertised. The question is answered diplomatically but not clearly.

Meanwhile, back at Facebook Head Quarters

Maitlis spends a large amount of the documentary’s time walking around Facebook, studying the working environment and observing the facilities.

Shots of Facebook Headquarters in California reaffirms the fact that everyone is just ‘so real’ and the magnitude of the brand that they are working with is not a big deal despite two colleagues who are interviewed saying when they do see Zuckerberg from afar they tend to get stars in their eyes and forget how to speak. Sweet.

The Public’s view

After the documentary aired the blogosphere hulked out, saying that the money based program had turned into Maitlis flaunting various outfits (expensive ones at that) and going gaga over Zuckerberg and missing key opportunities for debate with rather expressionless Zuckerberg.

The Daily Mail reports:

Through much of the program she was filmed walking between interviews with her thumbs in her pockets, wearing large black sunglasses and tight-fitting jeans.

She also wore a Chanel sweater with a picture of a perfume bottle with ‘Love Potion’ written on it, which stars including singers Beyonce and Taylor Swift have previously been photographed wearing”

Emily Maitlis

Image by: Gothick Matt

The Telegraph reporter Michale Hogan is left with little praise after he watched the documentary:

“Emily Maitlis told the website’s story, from its Harvard origins in 2004 to dizzying $100 billion valuation in seven short years. This wasn’t very illuminating for anyone who’s seen the Oscar-winning film The Social Network. Neither was it visually appealing.

Callow nerds tip-tapping at computers aren’t terribly exciting, which is partly why there aren’t more Hollywood blockbusters about them.

The program-makers tried to brighten things up with far too many shots of Maitlis strutting along Silicon Valley streets, thumbs tucked in her hip pockets. No one really walks this way, do they, except line-dancing cowboys?”

Tweets ranged from promotional, encouraging to skeptical and unimpressed:


tweets on Inside FacebookYou can watch BBC Mark Zuckerberg: Inside Facebook for a limited amount of time on the BBC iPlayer website or on you tube . Tell us what you think. Did it do a good job or should we just watch The Social Network again?


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