Mark Zuckerberg: U.S. gov't 'blew it' on communicating NSA actions

Summary:"I think it's my job to protect everyone that uses Facebook. It's our government's job to protect all of us," Zuckerberg argued.

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SAN FRANCISCO -- Last year at TechCrunch Disrupt, Mark Zuckerberg was making his first public appearance since Facebook's disastrous debut as a public company earlier that summer.

This year, with Facebook shares climbing nicely above the original IPO price, safe to say there was probably less pressure on the young CEO this time around.

It was also around this time last year that Facebook surpassed an unprecedented milestone to have ensnared more than a billion users worldwide.

Downplaying the event by remarking that "a billion isn't like a magical number," Zuckerberg said now the focus is "retooling the company" to fix other problems -- namely connecting hundreds of millions of people worldwide to the Internet.

Along with heavily revamping its mobile products in favor of native (rather than HTML5) apps, Facebook has been busy revamping its backend infrastructures to both connect its users with new content -- but also to better make sense of the vast troves of data within its grasp.

Zuckerberg also didn't hold back when revealing an undoubtedly ambitious goal for Facebook: To take on "a roadmap to understand everything in the world, semantically."

Facebook hasn't been mum on these changes at all, but many of the updates aren't as obvious on the front end to average users, sparking debates over privacy and what Menlo Park is doing with all that personal information.

Zuckerberg didn't deny the obvious business opportunity here, outlining that the company's mantra (as far as products are concerned) boils down to the following three actions: build, grow, and monetize.

Zuckerberg also didn't hold back when revealing an undoubtedly ambitious goal for Facebook: To take on "a roadmap to understand everything in the world, semantically."

"To sum that up, you want all the people?" asked former TechCrunch chief Michael Arrington during Wednesday's afternoon fireside chat.

Zuckerberg paused and then replied, "We want to help connect everyone. Not everyone uses Facebook, but mostly everyone uses social tools."

Arrington later went so far as to suggest that Facebook already has "more data than any other entity in the world."

But when it came to discussing how that data is being obtained and used by the U.S. Government, Zuckerberg was vehement in his response that Facebook opposed the way the National Security Agency has acted.

"I think it's my job and [Facebook's] job to protect everyone that uses Facebook. It's our government's job to protect all of us," Zuckerberg argued. "They did a bad job of balancing those things here. I think the government blew it."

Pointing towards the social network's first transparency report published recently, Zuckerberg defended that the company "worked really hard with the government behind-the-scenes to reveal the number of requests," admitting it wasn't everything Facebook wanted to declare in the end.

Check out a clip of Zuckerberg talking with Arrington via CNET TV:

Screenshot via Ustream/TechCrunch

Topics: Mobility, CXO, Social Enterprise, Tech Industry, Web development

About

Rachel King is a staff writer for CBS Interactive based in San Francisco, covering business and enterprise technology for ZDNet, CNET and SmartPlanet. She has previously worked for The Business Insider, FastCompany.com, CNN's San Francisco bureau and the U.S. Department of State. Rachel has also written for MainStreet.com, Irish Americ... Full Bio

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