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Facebook CEO Weighs in on Privacy Controversy

AP

In response, Zuckerberg addressed the issues without being defensive, reiterating that he wanted Facebook to help people share and stay connected, the message he told me last week after announcing the new privacy settings.

He acknowledged that privacy settings just got too complicated. When the company offered granular control over every type of content users can share, people complained that it was too complex and they listened to those complaints.

But Zuckerberg clearly understands the gravity of the privacy issue. When asked about who their competitors are, he quipped: "We try not to make the same mistake other companies make, I try to make different mistakes." As to the question, he said he thinks their biggest competitor is a company they haven't heard of yet.

What's next for Facebook and social media? Zuckerberg expects growth in "social plugins," a simple way to personalize websites. Since the F8 launch back in April, 200,000 sites have started using social plugins. Zuckerberg wouldn't comment directly on monetization, just saying that the number of ads and advertisers is growing fast, which allows for more targeting, which helps the user experience.

And it sounds like much of Facebook's future will be mobile: Zuckerberg says mobile usage is growing three or four times faster than usage on the web.

In an intense moment, Zuckerberg addressed rumors about comments he made soon after starting Facebook making light of privacy settings. Neither Mossberg, Swisher nor Zuckerberg got into the meat of the rumors, or whether or not they're true, but Zuckerberg admitted he did things he regrets back when he was 18. A chuckle swept the room -- a 26 year-old CEO reminiscing about back when he was young. But there was real point to this: Facebook went from a dorm-room project to a service with nearly 500 million users. At some point early in that process Zuckerberg and his colleagues hit what he called "learning points" and "turning points." Zuckerberg said that he might have done things differently at the beginning if he knew then what he knows now, but bottom line: he cares about privacy, and he's serious about it.

After this heated conversation Zuckerberg was convinced to shed his ubiquitious hoodie. Why was Zuckerberg so hot? The hoodie is lined with Facebook's mission statement -- a graphic with arrows and words like "graph," "open" and "connected." Zuckerberg may have been reluctant to trip down to his T-shirt, but it was a pretty good illustration of how close he holds his mission and ideals.

Questions? Comments? MediaMoney@cnbc.com

  • Working from Los Angeles, Boorstin is CNBC's media and entertainment reporter and editor of CNBC.com's Media Money section.