Facebook Founder Talks About NSA Surveillance


Mark Zuckerberg probably isn’t America’s greatest spokesman for the value of allowing people to maintain their privacy. He is, after all, the guy who declared a few years ago that privacy was no longer a “social norm.” Nonetheless, at today’s TechCrunch conference in San Francisco, Michael Arrington decided to ask him what he thought about all the recent revelations of NSA surveillance. Here’s what he said:

It’s our government’s job to protect all of us, and also to protect our freedoms and protect the economy—and companies. And I think that they did a bad job of balancing those things here. Frankly I think the government blew it. I think they blew it on communicating the balance of what they were going for here with this.

The morning after this started breaking a bunch of people asked them what they thought, and the government’s comment was, oh don’t worry, basically we’re not spying on any Americans.

And it’s like, oh wonderful, that’s really helpful to companies who are trying to serve people around the world. That’s really going to inspire confidence in American internet companies. Thanks for going out there and being really clear about what you’re doing. So I think that was really bad.

I guess the guy is consistent, anyway. As near as I can tell, he really doesn’t care about privacy. The only part of this whole episode that stuck in his craw was the NSA’s public statement that its mission is to spy on foreigners, something that he’s afraid will hurt Facebook’s business.

Which it might—though probably only slightly. Still, you’d think somebody in Zuckerberg’s business might have developed a slightly broader view of these things by now. There was more going on here than just a momentary breakdown in the NSA’s communications shop.

THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

payment methods

THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate