When users typed in the website’s URL, two pictures randomly drawn from online Harvard face-books would pop up, and the user would be able to pick which one was hotter. Zuckerberg sent the link to a bunch of his friends for feedback, but somewhere along the line it got forwarded to the IOP mailing list. “From there it was just gone,” says Zuckerberg. When he returned from a meeting a few hours later, traffic on the site had more than quadrupled, and his computer was running so slowly that he couldn’t get it back from screen saver mode.
Reflecting on the site’s popularity explosion, Zuckerberg remarks, “It was basically a mistake. I thought the site was interesting mathematically, theoretically...and the idea of it.” He says, “I didn’t mean for it to be released so quickly because I wanted to control peoples’ being offended by it.” Zuckerberg says that the backlash wasn’t as bad as he would have expected. “People were pretty respectful. They weren‘t like ‘You’re a moron.’” Trying to solve the problem of insulting students, he first attempted to let people opt out of having their picture available. However, realizing that he had perhaps not thought the whole thing through, Zuckerberg shut down the server and terminated the website. Rumor has it that the Ad Board is investigating. But Zuckerberg has yet to hear about that possibility. “Ad board?” he asks. “Do you know anything about it? Cause I don’t have any idea what’s going on.”