If an individual can convince more than a billion people to join his social media network, then something about that person must be special. Mark Zuckerberg, who founded Facebook, is now the subject of a digital archive project dubbed as The Zuckerberg Files. The website will contain all public pronouncements of one of the youngest and most successful chief executive officers of our time who from time to time expresses his thoughts about privacy networking, and sharing, online.
The project, launched Friday, was initiated by University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee assistant professor Michael Zimmer.
"It includes over 100 full-text transcripts and bibliographic data of all publicly-available content representing the voice and words of Zuckerberg, including blog posts, letters to shareholders, media interviews, public appearances and product presentations, and quotes in other sources. Nearly 50 video files are also available for downloading," the description of The Zuckerberg Files read.
The website does not grant full-text access and will require user to have a login account. This is in adherence to "Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Scholarly Research in Communication" that only allows access to people doing relevant scholarly research.
"I think Zuckerberg is important because he is Facebook. He has such a level as part of this company. I compare it to Steve Jobs and Apple. So much of what that company was an extension of him and his worldview. That's why I want to get a better understanding of him. As long as I have access to some students willing to listen to Zuckerberg, we'll keep going. It's like a presidential library, where you try to capture every word that JFK ever said. That's what we're trying to do here," said Zimmer in an interview.
Zimmer and his team collected and collated every part of the archive by doing manual web searches, scraping information from the Lexis Nexis archive, and going through the Wikipedia entry about Zuckerberg.
Zimmer explained that Zuckerberg is Facebook and the social network is a good reflection of its CEO's thoughts.
"Even though it's now a public company, he still has an incredible amount of direct and specific control and influence in terms of what the platform is and how it works. And he has the final say on changes of privacy settings and default settings. So the way that Mark Zuckerberg the person views the world-the way he views online sharing, what his philosophy of information is-is really critical to how that platform is going to be designed," Zimmer said in another interview.
As of writing, the Twitter account of The Zuckerberg Files revealed that it received a lot of access requests and that its team will process the requests as quickly as they can.
Not quite the X Files but if you're a fan of Zuckerberg, this is probably what you've been waiting for.