If You're Going To Forge An Email By Mark Zuckerberg, Make Sure You Use Proper English

from the not-txt-spk dept

We’ve already mentioned that Facebook is claiming that the email evidence presented by Paul Ceglia for his claim that he should own a huge chunk of Facebook was a fraud. Time’s Techland blog digs a little deeper into the filing and highlights the research of a linguistics expert Facebook hired to compare known emails from Zuckerberg at the time, with the emails Ceglia presented as Zuckerberg’s, suggesting that Ceglia’s versions do not match Zuckerberg’s standard email writing style. Most interesting? The emails Ceglia presented as evidence show a much less formal writing style, whereas Zuckerberg’s emails use proper punctuation:


A) Questionable Zuckerberg writes:

“doesnt,” “parents” (parents’), “sites” (site’s = contraction for ?site is?), and “sites” (site’s = possessive)

B) Real Zuckerberg’s contractions and possessives are all used correctly. So there’s that.

Suspension Points

A) Questionable Zuckerberg writes:

?. . . I’ve been tweaking the search engine today,? with spaces in between his suspension points.

B) Real Zuckerberg doesn’t space out his suspension points. For example: ?So let me know??


A) Questionable Zuckerberg writes these words as follows:

?back end? (two words), ?internet? (lower case ?I?), and ?can not? (two words)

B) Real Zuckerberg writes:

?backend? (one word), ?Internet? (capital ?i?), and ?cannot? (one word)

The link has some more examples as well, but this is certainly fascinating. Obviously, this is from Facebook’s hired expert, but it does make you realize just how much people have specific language “tics” in how they write, and how difficult it is to fake that, sometimes.

Filed Under: , , ,
Companies: facebook

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “If You're Going To Forge An Email By Mark Zuckerberg, Make Sure You Use Proper English”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Who exactly teaches them to spell with numbers? I have been on the internet for a damn long time and have picked up a lot of bad habits but they are mostly things like your/you’re misplaced ‘s and the like.

The number thing was mostly a fad in the late 90s early 2000s. People who speak with broken English or attempt “1337 $p3@k” in anything other than ironic contexts are not highly regarded individuals even on forums mostly dominated by sugar filled hormone raging teenagers for quite a while.

Hell, I am actually surprised how many nurses I’ve talked to have the absolutely worst grammar and spelling on the internet. They use abbreviations in hospitals all the time and carry that over into the internet. These people are not kids or under educated but their typing habits in casual language to others are far more atrocious then lolcats.

That Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

I suggest you wander over to lamebook and take a peek at the mental prowess being displayed by so many Facebook users.

My current favorite is the people ranting about having to press 1 to hear the message in English and managing to mange it at the same time.

While the increase in reading and typing is a good thing, the sheer number of people who believed the Onion story about the AbortionPlex was real shows that we have much to teach in the area of critical thought.

IKR itz so lam, old dude is like old and stuf

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Why do people keep acting like critical thinking isn’t common among all humans being a new thing?

Dumb people have a louder voice now thanks to technology. You didn’t notice them before because they were swept under the carpet because they learned to keep their mouth shut. But now they can speak out their stupidity without receiving immediate ridicule. Any ridicule they receive is well after the fact so they aren’t trained to shut up. Anyone who thinks critical thinking isn’t the same as it was 30 years ago either wasn’t around then or just wants the damn kids off their lawn.

Josh Taylor says:

Or Least the keyboard symbols used in hack speech

Close your FB accounts, throw your computer in the trash and enjoy nature…outside…

Get off your lazy chair, go out and make REAL friends. Go out and a find yourself a real date.

Socialize with your family at the dinner table. Unplug your TV and radio, don’t even use them unless there’s a weather emergency. Read the King James Bible with your family. Don’t trust in the entertainment media, trust in the Savior and Lord.

Also, when driving don’t even listen to the radio. It’s full of satanic lyrics even in Christian music.

ComputerAddict (profile) says:

“Unplug your TV and radio, don’t even use them unless there’s a weather emergency. “

The idea is to warn you before it hits… If you wait till your in the middle of a hurricane before turning on your radio its too late.

“This is a message from the Emergency Broadcast System… If your just tuning in now, your fucked.”

Derek Kerton (profile) says:

Perfect Grammar Is Anonymouse

“it does make you realize just how much people have specific language “tics” in how they write”

More so in the errors that they produce. In fact, for people with near perfect grammar, it becomes harder to identify a fake from the real deal.

Just think of how many Nigerian scams are easily identified because of terrible grammar. Bad grammar is a tell. Good grammar is ambiguous – could be a scam, could be a real prince…hmmm.

This is why mapmakers and other producers of data insert errors into their work. Because only then can a copyright violation be proven: if someone copies a perfect map of Chicago, then it would be unprovable. But if you invented a few fake streets, and those were also copied, the infringer could be caught out.

The errors found in the suspect emails will, eventually, make the questionable emails look more like Ceglia’s writing, because the errors will match up. Similar errors suggest a match, while similar correct prose is inconclusive.

“…how they write, and how difficult it is to fake that, sometimes.”

I dunno, Mike. Since Zuck’s writing is grammatically correct, it is, in fact, very easy to fake it. To mimic Zuckerberg, all Ceglia would have had to do is improve his grammar, or run it through a good grammar checker — seems worth a few billion! Of course, having faked it well, it does not mean that it was Zuck, because many people write correctly.

Wow, I had a point, I’m sure. Anyway, I wrote “mouse” in the subject on porpoise to make sure I’m not copied.

newbedave says:


dave made contact with paul ceglia and was in discussion about a platform for my idea the facebook.but zuckerberg made contact to paul ceglia to steal the idea facebook . david got e-mails from zuckerberg saying he was not interested in the idea facebook ; david then contacted dustin chris to find out about this email i got from zuckerberg; they went into denial about this. but later on got a email from chris saying they were not interested in the idea facebook

DAVID CONTACTED CHRIS to say that david was going to sign the contract with paul ceglia .CHRIS told zuckerberg and zuck made contact to paul ceglia to steal the idea facebook ON APRIL 2003 .and this is how and why zuckerberg sign the contract with paul ceglia

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...