From Facebook friends to world peace

Facebook marketing manager Randi Zuckerberg spoke to "Globes" at Davos about the company's joint venture with Stanford University.

"Are you coming for Shabbat dinner?" asks Randi Zuckerberg, marketing manager of Facebook and sister of its founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, when we request an interview with her at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos. Randi Zuckerberg is very optimistic about the ability of Facebook's venture with Stanford University to contribute to world peace, even in the Middle East.

"As part of the venture, they are trying to quantify the concept 'peace', and we're helping them in all social media related matters. We simply monitor and report the number of friends made between Israelis and Palestinians, or between Indians and Pakistanis, Greeks and Turks, and even between members of different religions, such as Jews and Muslims.

"What we see is very encouraging. A sharp increase in new friendships between these groups by as much as ten-fold. If last year we saw 1,000 Israelis and Palestinians requesting friendships, this number has jumped to 20,000 a day. Obviously, it's impossible to make sweeping conclusions, but who knows? After all, we're talking about people who want to create human contact despite differences."

"Globes": This again raises the issue of privacy. Do you protect the privacy of those Facebook members or are they completely exposed?

Randi Zuckerberg: "We gather this information only from account holders who explicitly consent to disclose all their details to everyone. That is why it's possible to assume that the number of interactions between the different groups is even higher than what we report to Stanford."

You collect more and more information every day. This greatly increases the risk that you'll be a target for hackers. Does this scare you?

"We have a world-class security team. The case of Tunisia posed an interesting challenge for us. In Europe, the US, or Israel, it's very easy to locate an account that has been attacked because you see the two IP addresses that are trying to enter the same Facebook account. But it's not so easy in Tunisia. There, we received reports from a lot of people who claimed that their accounts were attacked by hackers. As a result, our security team developed three new security measures to deal with this problem, and they beat it."

Have you visited Israel?

"I've been there several times. My husband has family there, and we love to visit. We have a baby on the way, so the next visit won't happen for a while, but it will definitely happen."

Randi Zuckerberg's Facebook page says that she works on marketing, politics, current events and non-profits for Facebook. She is also a television spokeswoman for Facebook.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - - on January 27, 2011

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2011

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