In celebrating Instagram reaching 500 million users, Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg accidentally sparked a privacy discussion.

The image, which shows Zuckerberg sat at his desk in Facebook HQ, was quickly picked up on social media when Twitter users spotted that the MacBook Pro on the Facebook founder’s desk had its webcam and microphone covered by sticky tape – a ploy used by many to prevent hackers from spying on them.

Mark Zuckerberg – More than 500 million people now use… | Facebook

There have been several instances of hackers gaining access to webcams and capturing pictures and video of users without their knowledge, and while sticky tape is an accepted technique in some circles, why the head of one of the largest technology companies in the world feels the need to rely on it remains a mystery.

Hackers have in the past used malware hidden in email attachments in order to infect computers and then take remote control of certain functions of the device, including the webcam and microphone.

As the high-profile leader of such a big company, particularly in the technology space and as one that deals with so much personal data, it is understandable why Zuckerberg might be a little paranoid about being targeted.

Laptop
(Dominic Lipinski/PA)

 

Indeed, he has already been the subject of a cyber attack recently when it appeared several of his networking accounts, including Twitter and LinkedIn, were compromised by hackers using data gained from the LinkedIn breach of 2012. Facebook commented at the time that Zuckerberg’s Instagram had been protected with additional levels of security.

But if such things exist for the billionaire why does he need the tape as well?

It could just be a case of doubling up on security, though questions do remain over the effectiveness of such techniques as sound could still travel through the tape. 

Mark Zuckerberg
(Manu Fernandez/AP)

 

Facebook has not commented on the picture, which is believed to have been taken at Zuckerberg’s real desk based on a Facebook Live video from last year when he gave a tour of an identical space and showed off where he works.

As was also pointed out by some, it seems slightly ironic that the man at the top of a social network that wants us to use Facebook Live, a video streaming service, has covered up the camera on one of his own devices.

Read more in our article: Is your PC being hacked? 6 tips to keep your PC free from attack