Mark Zuckerberg Closes Off His Google+ Account

Facebook founder keeps people from seeing his friend list on rival service

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, whose stance on social networking privacy has been widely criticized, seems to suddenly have felt the need for a bit more online privacy himself.

When Zuckerberg first joined Google+, thousands of users took advantage of the site’s friend-request-free policy to follow the Facebook founder. As of July 5, Zuckerberg was the most popular Google+ member on the top 100 users list. But today, after closing off his profile so that other users can no longer see his friends and followers (a privilege he's not been great about extending to Facebook users), it looks like he’s disappeared from the list—and he’s not the only one.

Top Google staffers including co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, senior vice president of social Vic Gundotra, vice president of location and local services Marissa Mayer, and SEO whiz Matt Cutts have also blocked their Google+ profiles overnight and dropped off of the top 100 users list. Why they changed their privacy settings isn’t clear, but The Next Web guesses that it could be due to anything from an experiment with new privacy features to a company policy designed to keep Google employees from dominating the popularity rankings.

Since the tech staffer exodus, the most popular rankings have shifted, with the No. 1 spot now held by blogger and Rackspace CEO Robert Scoble (who also happens to be the man who confirmed that Zuckerberg’s account was legitimate) with 43,131 followers and 3,646 friends, followed by tech journalist Leo Laporte and Digg co-founder Kevin Rose.