Earlier this week, Google co-founder Sergey Brin declared Facebook and Apple are becoming a threat to the Internet, along with the various governments trying to censor their citizens.
Now, Brin has backpedaled on his statements, saying that he actually admires both Facebook and Apple, in a Google+ post. Remember when Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg said he admires Amazon, Apple, and Google? We've come full circle.
Here's the crux of Brin's clarification:
Today, the primary threat by far to internet freedom is government filtering of political dissent. This has been far more effective than I ever imagined possible across a number of nations. In addition, other countries such as the US have come close to adopting very similar techniques in order to combat piracy and other vices. I believe these efforts have been misguided and dangerous.
Lastly in the interview came the subject of digital ecosystems that are not as open as the web itself and I think this portion has led to some misunderstanding of my views. So to clarify, I certainly do not think this issue is on a par with government based censorship. Moreover, I have much admiration for two of the companies we discussed -- Apple and Facebook. I have always admired Apple’s products. In fact, I am writing this post on an Imac and using an Apple keyboard I have cherished for the past seven years. Likewise, Facebook has helped to connect hundreds of millions of people, has been a key tool for political expression and has been instrumental to the Arab Spring. Both have made key contributions to the free flow of information around the world.
Notice that Brin doesn't actually take back his statements about Facebook and Apple, both of which he said use proprietary platforms to control access to their users and stifle innovation as well as balkanise the Web. He simply clarifies that their actions doesn't even compare with what many governments are doing around the world. Correct.
In short, Brin says that Facebook and Apple have done good things, and they have done bad things. It just so happens that the bad things are a threat to the Internet, or more specifically, a threat to the Internet that Google wants. Index all the things!
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