The facemash fiasco (Lessons 1 & 2)

Because our large business law class meets only once per week (on Mondays), we are going to combine Lessons 1 & 2 into a single lecture. In addition, we are going to re-enact Mark Zuckerberg’s fall 2003 “Ad Board” hearing at Harvard College. (Some background: Before he launched Facebook, Harvard sophomore and computer genius Mark Zuckerburg created a website called Facemash. In brief, Facemash presented the user with two randomly-selected student I.D. photos of women students enrolled in Harvard and then let the user choose which one was “hotter.” Mark’s website quickly went “viral”—in a matter of hours, the site attracted 450 visitors, who had voted on their classmates’ photos at least 22,000 times.) We will thus need several student volunteers for this in-class assignment:

1. Complainant #1 (the role of Leyla Bravo, student and president of Fuerza Latina): Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to deliver a short “closing argument” to the Ad Board. Specifically, from your (Fuerza Latina’s) perspective, what did the respondent Mark Zuckerberg do wrong?

2. Complainant #2 (the role of Kevin Davis, Director of Residential Computing for Faculty of Arts and Sciences Computer Services): Your mission is to deliver a short “closing argument” to the Ad Board. Specifically, from your (the college’s) perspective, what rules or legal duties may the respondent Mark Zuckerberg have possibly violated or breached?

3. The Respondent (the role Mark Zuckerberg, hacker): Your mission is to deliver a short but compelling “closing argument” to the Ad Board in your defense. Did you do anything wrong, and if so, what type of punishment would be a fair one?

4. The Ad Board: The Class as a whole will play the role of the Harvard Ad Board. At the conclusion of the closing arguments, the class will deliberate in small groups and will vote to determine what punishment, if any, to impose on the respondent, hacker Mark Zuckerberg.

Or is it?


About F. E. Guerra-Pujol

When I’m not blogging, I am a law professor at the College of Business of the University of Central Florida.
This entry was posted in Ethics, Law, Probability, Voting. Bookmark the permalink.

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