If you've been following my blogs, you're aware that I scratch my head about the way in which the Facebook website works. It seems to be an incomplete product but one with no useful internal structure. So far, I haven't been able to gain access to any of the private information held by Facebook, except for stuff like your "Profile Settings" page and your email password.
My best guess is that Mark didn't really want to be competing with more established and sophisticated companies or the US Government. He wanted to start, to begin with, what is actually a better competition: decentralized, volunteer, peer-to-peer social networking.
Mark's goal was to be THE defining technology of the future, not teen-orientated Facebook. He wanted to create a revolutionary social platform, and he would do this, and keep the heat on it, come hell or high water, until it was world-dominating. In plain terms, he wanted it to be the next Next.com (which, despite its short-life, was recognized by many for the improvement to email that it was). d2c66b5586