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Facebook CEO Calls Obama to Express Concerns Over NSA Spying

Alyssa Bereznak
National Correspondent, Technology
March 13, 2014

Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of the personal data sharing site Facebook, is not a fan of the National Security Agency.

Just a day after a report revealed that the government agency posed as Facebook to secretly spy on millions of people, the 29-year-old company founder took to — where else? — Facebook to directly criticize the massive surveillance system. In the message, he said he called President Barack Obama to express his frustrations “over the damage the government is creating for all of our future.” Which is colloquially known around the Facebook office as “that thing that’s making us look bad.”

Per his note on Facebook:

“When our engineers work tirelessly to improve security, we imagine we’re protecting you against criminals, not our own government.

“The US government should be the champion for the internet, not a threat. They need to be much more transparent about what they’re doing, or otherwise people will believe the worst.” (Read the whole note here.)

In other words, Zuckerberg is “confused” that Obama would allow for such appalling violations of his 1.2 billion users’ information. For its part, Facebook uses secure protocols for traffic and offers two-step authentication for fraud prevention. 

Nonetheless, Facebook isn’t known as a company that makes its privacy policies or settings perfectly transparent. Zuckerberg’s own sister couldn’t figure out the company’s privacy settings

That doesn’t mean Zuckerberg’s criticism isn’t valid. But we must take it with a grain of salt. This may be a rare instance of Facebook being on the right side of a privacy dispute.

Zuckerberg concludes his note by saying it’s up to us “to build an internet we want,” assuring us that we “can count on Facebook” to do its part. More than 117,000 people liked his message, and more than 14,000 shared it.

It’s a good public relations move, but it highlights how low the bar is for decency in this area: The CEO of a company that has an entire Wikipedia page dedicated solely to privacy issues is calling out the government for spying on us.

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