HAPPY BIRTHDAY FACEBOOK: Secret IMs Revealing The Mark Zuckerberg Of 2004

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Editor’s Note: In May 2012, after many years of reporting on Facebook, Business Insider’s Nicholas Carlson obtained and published these private communications. As many look back on Facebook on its 10-year anniversary, we thought it worth revisiting the Mark Zuckerberg of 2004 — just another Harvard student far from the billionaire CEO we know today.

When Mark Zuckerberg was a kid, he networked the computers in his home, and wrote a program so family members could send messages to each other.

Then came America Online, and Zuckerberg, like millions of other kids his age, joined up and claimed a screen name so he could chat with his family and friends online.

When he went to college, Zuckerberg used AOL Instant Messenger to keep in touch with friends and family.

Thanks to four years of reporting, we’ve been able to view and report on a number of these IMs.

Here, we’ve collected some of the best of them. These are illustrations of the IMs, not actual screengrabs.

They answer questions like:

Before launching TheFacebook.com, Zuckerberg had to decide whether to work on it or a similar project he was already working with his Harvard schoolmates, the Winklevoss twins. This is the conversation where he works out that he'd like to do his own thing.

Then Zuckerberg had to decide whether or not to tell the Winklevosses he was working on a competing project. Here, he says he is going to 'fuck them.'

Zuckerberg talks about his cofounder, and first investor, Eduardo Saverin. Even then, Zuckerberg's emphasis was the product, not the money.

Shortly after launching TheFacebook.com, Zuckerberg joked about how strange it was that users were so willing to share private data with him

When TheFacebook.com launched, the Winklevosses complained to Harvard, and Zuckerberg worried about getting booted out.

Harvard's student paper investigated the Winklevoss-Zuckerberg feud. Here, Zuckerberg talks about hacking into the paper to read the article ahead of time.

Eventually, the Winklevosses created their own social network, ConnectU. Here, Zuckerberg talks about a fake ConnectU profile he created for Cameron Winklevoss.

Zuckerberg talks about hacking into ConnectU and shutting down user accounts

In part because of a personality clash illustrated here…

…it wouldn't work out between Zuckerberg and Saverin. In this IM, Zuckerberg talks about how he's going to dilute Saverin.

Zuckerberg knew this dilution would lead to a lawsuit. (This IM also reveals that he wanted to sell Facebook and work on another startup)

Here, Zuckerberg tells a friend why he wanted to boot Saverin

In a conversation with Sean Parker about potential investors, Zuckerberg talks about 'dirty tricks' he wants to play on Saverin

Want to put the IMs in context? Reader the whole story. Both of them.

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