Hot or Not? Website Briefly Judges Looks

Earlier that day, the site had experienced less than a quarter of those visitors, according to Zuckerberg. But when he got back to his room, traffic to the website was so heavy that he could not even log on to his own computer.

“I hope you understand, this is not how I meant for things to go, and I apologize for any harm done as a result of my neglect to consider how quickly the site would spread and its consequences thereafter...I definitely see how my intentions could be seen in the wrong light,” Zuckerberg’s apology letter said.

The Rules

Director of Residential Computing for Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) Computer Services Kevin S. Davis ’98 declined to comment on Zuckerberg or the website.

But according to computer rules and responsibilities printed in the handbook and the FAS Computer Services website, Zuckerberg’s website likely violates campus computer use policies.


“Students may not attempt to circumvent security systems or to exploit or probe for security holes in any Harvard network or system, nor may students attempt any such activity against other systems accessed through Harvard’s facilities,” the guidelines state.

Zuckerberg’s website also appears to be in violation of the University’s guidelines for distribution of digitized images.

“The copying of data from [the ID photo database] to be used in another for purposes of bypassing any of the above restrictions, or without written permission, is prohibited,” according to the guidelines.

In addition to listing the “compilation or redistribution of information from University directories” among prohibited activities, the FAS handbook states that misconduct such as “knowingly gaining unauthorized access to a computer system or database” may be “subject to criminal and civil penalties” in addition to College disciplinary action.

Zuckerberg declined to comment on whether he has faced any charges or disciplinary action.

‘Let the hacking begin’

Zuckerberg said his interest in computer science and boredom on a Tuesday night were the ingredients behind his rating recipe.

It took less than a week for him to create the site—and he chronicled the process in a journal published on the site itself.

He began at 8:13 p.m. last Tuesday: “I need to think of something to occupy my mind. Easy enough—now I just need an idea...”

Just 95 minutes later, at 9:48 p.m., he added another entry.