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

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, Tech Industry, Social Enterprise, Web development

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13 comments
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  • Hmm..

    Fairly unsettling that a publicly-held company has a one-man defense
    Shrug
    • Agreed

      Yep, if a company uses their CEO to comment then I don't think much of it. CEO's are equivalent to politicians these days.
      _Andy_D
  • "I think it's my job to protect everyone that uses Facebook"

    Hilarious !

    Facebook's data mining makes the NSA efforts look like a five line qbasic program.

    Mark, if we need a lecture on morals should we go and ask Faust ?
    Alan Smithie
    • Absolutely!

      This little twerp is such a hypocrite.

      And remember Marky-Poo...money DOES NOT buy class...no matter how much you have.
      IT_Fella
  • Say what?

    Zuckerberg trying to take the moral high ground? That's ironic.
    SB52ME
  • Zuck is wearing no clothes

    Coming from the guy that has stolen more personal information than the NSA (and then sold it to the highest bidder), he has less than no credibility.
    thenitewatch@...
  • He said what?

    "I think it's my job and [Facebook's] job to protect everyone that uses Facebook..." Hmmm... P, r, o... that's an odd way to spell exploit.
    TxCelt
    • I don't join FB if I don't want to, but I AM watched by the NSA regardless

      I would agree that FaceBook exploits its position and sells everything it can, but only if you join.

      The NSA is an entirely different situation.

      The ONLY people not directly spied on and affected by them are primitive savages living in some jungles somewhere I wouldn't wanna be.
      MSBPodcast
      • Why is it different?

        When you are a member of facebook you are one of its citizens, its members.

        When you are a member of America you are one of its citizens, its members.

        In both cases you can quit that membership.
        mustang_z
  • Since when is Zuckerberg not more powerful than the NSA

    There are many tipping points where David can slay Goliath. Obama missed his. Mark could make his Mark. We'll see if users or stockholders come first.
    john.medcalf@...
  • Zuck

    I like how now that Facebook is pleasing shareholders Zuck has taken it upon himself to tell me daily how I feel about social issues. He comes across as one smug SOB to me. Just my opinion.
    SovereignTechnology
  • Always amusing to see...

    ... the USA...USA! WWE type apologists here, despite the childish clan loyalties to one program/manufacturer/etc or another, there are usually a proportion of rational commenters evident... but when the subject switches to 'national security' the tone switches to tea party 'don't like it, leave' type looney tunes...

    What part of 'your government has illegally broken the worlds internet security profile... and that is a BAD thing... do some of you insular, blinkered and just plain stupid meatheads not get?
    btone-c5d11
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