Facebook Had a Master Password Its Early Employees Could Use to Log In as Any User
This interesting nugget in a Wall Street Journal article today, called “The Woman in the Facebook Frat House”:
Once we learned how the software worked, he taught us, without batting an eye, the master password with which we could log in as any Facebook user and gain access to all messages and data. “You can’t write it down,” he said, and so we committed it to memory.
I briefly experienced stunned disbelief: They just hand over the password with no background check to make sure that I am not a crazed stalker?
Security measures would be implemented later that made it impossible for anyone to use the master password without authenticating themselves as an employee. And a year after that, the password would disappear entirely in favor of other, more secure forms of logging in to repair accounts. But at the beginning, there was only one password. For us, as administrators, everything on Facebook really was there for the seeing.
I’m told this is normal and was also true at Twitter.
How many early Facebook users were aware Mark Zuckerberg and any Facebook employee could easily log into their account on a whim?
The WSJ article is an excerpt from a new book by Katherine Losse, who joined Facebook in 2005 as an early member of its customer-relations staff.
Dan Dorfman (1929-2012) Gave To The Masses What Was Known To A Chosen Few
The financial journalist Dan Dorfman died this past weekend at 82. Dan was known for reporting stock market takeover rumors and other news that would cause stocks to skyrocket or fall. Dan wrote the Wall Street Journal’s “Heard on the Street” column in the ’70s and later worked at CNBC in the ’90s.
I had the honor and pleasure of working with Dan in the ’80s when I was the Producer of Moneyline at CNN and Dan was one of our nightly commentators. I would speak to Dan (or his kind assistant Jeannette Walls, who later became a MSNBC gossip columnist and New York Times best selling author for her memoir, “The Glass Castle”) almost daily to find out what story he was planning to report on and order up any necessary graphics. I’d wait until after the markets had closed, because I didn’t want to know about Dan’s info while the market was open, so I could avoid even the appearance of anything unethical.
Dan was always so excited about his stories, sometimes breathless. When he arrived, he was always so full of energy and humor. In his segments at Moneyline, he reported some big scoops. Sometimes he was right, and sometimes he got it wrong. But he always had a purpose. He really wanted the little guy, the small investor to have the same knowledge as the big guys.
In an interview in 2008, he said “On my tombstone, I would like it to read, ‘Here lies Dan Dorfman, a reporter who cared.’ All that I’ve tried to do is to give to the masses what was known to a chosen few. That was my contribution.” It certainly was. And it lead the way for many business journalists who came after him.
Dan would always come up with something for the show, even if it was last minute and changed several times. One night, it might be one big takeover scoop. Other nights, when he didn’t have something great, he would string five minor stories together to fill his slot. He knew those weren’t his best nights.
Or, he would share a research report that only the big institutional investors would get. You have to remember it was a very different time back then, with no Internet and all the small investor had to rely on was a daily newspaper, weekly magazine or our nightly tv show.
I heard that Dan Dorfman was the basis of one of the scenes in Oliver Stone’s Wall Street movie. As I recall, traders are heard leaking some news to a financial reporter, and everyone on Wall Street knew Dan Dorfman would be that reporter in real life.
Dan told me a story that for some reason I remember to this day. Dan once had this new fancy luxury car and we’d heard he got it from one of his employers. I asked him, “How did you get that into your contract?” He said “I just asked for it. You won’t get things unless you ask for them.” Back then, his employers knew how valuable Dan was and wanted to give him what he asked for so he could keep bringing his scoops to the public.
I’ve finally achieved Inbox To Zero. It’s a state of bliss that probably won’t last long. A big part of getting to here involved not using Email as a To Do list. I’m a big GTD groupie (Getting Things Done, by David Allen) and following those ideas really helped.
Here are some of the tools I used:
OmniFocus - I just started using this GTD software. At first, I thought OmniFocus was too complex and tasks would slip thru unnoticed. But once I learned the power of its Perspectives, the software becomes incredible. Before, I had tried many other GTD tools such as Toodledo and my own custom-coded php/mysql solution. But OmniFocus syncs to all my Mac’s, iPhone, and iPad over a WebDav server and has so many more features. Its easy to add tasks from anywhere and its context and project taxonomy matches the GTD approach better than anything else I’ve seen.
Sanebox - Technically, my Inbox is zero. But, I’ve still got hundreds of emails setting in other mail folders. Sanebox helps get the lesser important emails out of the main inbox. I’ve scanned these other folders, so I know I’m not missing anything essential and I’ll get to the emails in these other folders one by one later.
Evernote & Dropbox - I put certain types of reference material into these boxes, where they are easier to find.
Two GTD observations for those that follow GTD and won’t make any sense if you don’t.
1. The idea of Contexts has changed since the book came out. Contexts used to be places like Home, Work, Errands, or People/Agenda’s where certain tasks could only be done. But, computer work is now done everywhere, at home, work, or even when traveling. I still find some of the Contexts useful, but the nature of work has changed them.
2. Some GTD systems let you classify by tags or keywords and others force you to pick a specific Context for a Task. I’ve tried both, but like using Contexts more. But, I’ve also discovered a hybrid system that uses both.
Let’s say I want to know what tasks I should do over the weekend. Weekend isn’t a project or really a Context by GTD rules. And it doesn’t really make sense to give weekend tasks a start date of this coming weekend unless they must get done on a certain dates. Using dates, you would spend too much time advances tasks not done until the next weekend.
So, I’ve started using a tag like #weekend in the task title. Those are all searchable in Omnifocus and give an easy want to find all those tasks without touching the date info.
Every great entrepreneur from Steve Jobs to Mark Zuckerberg went through The Struggle and struggle they did, so you are not alone. But that does not mean that you will make it. You may not make it. That is why it is The Struggle.
The Struggle is where greatness comes from.
From Ben Horowitz’s post on “The Struggle” http://techcrunch.com/2012/06/14/the-struggle/