Journalist Interviews Facebook Boss, Shrinks Own Friends List

Dennis Faas's picture

The head of Facebook is recovering from a disastrous on-stage conference appearance and the irony is that rival service Twitter made things far worse.

Mark Zuckerburg was speaking at the South by Southwest Interactive Conference and Festival, an annual event that recently added technology to its music and film remit.

His appearance took the form of an interview conducted by technology journalist Sarah Lacy, a columnist for Business Week. She repeatedly interrupted Zuckerburg, asked 'softball' questions and even gave away news that Facebook is planning a French launch, an announcement he'd planned to make himself during the debate.

At one point Lacy even plugged her own book about Zuckerburg. Two minutes later one live blogger was writing, "Audience muttering over Lacy's crap interviewing skills reaching uncomfortably high volume. We're glad tomatoes are out of season." (Source:

The on-looking crowd became increasingly hostile at Lacy's interviewing style but, rather than just seething and muttering to neighbours, many on hand communicated via Twitter. That's a social networking style service by which users can send messages that instantly appear on the cell phones of all listed friends. The messages were read by people throughout the room and across the world.

After the event, Lacy herself sent a message via Twitter to her detractors, reading simply "seriously screw all you guys. I did my best to ask a range of things."

The conversation did reveal some useful news about Facebook, in particular that it's currently breaking even and doesn't plan to be reliant on banner advertising. (Source:

Zuckerburg wouldn't confirm rumors that Facebook is considering an official music service, which could theoretically combine the ease of iTunes with the community features of sites like (Source:

He also envisioned a PayPal-like payment system by which members could send money to friends with Facebook of course taking a cut.

As for Lacy, she seems to have learned the hard way that interactivity has its downsides.

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