US spy revelations hurt Web trust: Facebook chief

Sep 18, 2013
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks at the Newseum September 18, 2013 in Washington, DC.

Revelations about the US government's secret surveillance programs has had a big impact on "trust metrics" of Internet companies like Facebook, the social network chief Mark Zuckerberg said Wednesday.

Speaking at a Washington forum, Zuckerberg said Facebook would keep pressing for more transparency about the National Security Agency programs disclosed in recent months believed to collect vast amounts of data on Internet users.

Zuckerberg said Facebook keeps a close eye on "trust metrics," or how users feel about the company over time, and that the revelations about the NSA PRISM program had a major impact on trust.

"There's a lot of times we will put a statement out (on issues), and that stuff tends not to move the needle on trust. The NSA stuff did," he told the forum sponsored by The Atlantic magazine.

"The trust metrics... went down when PRISM came out, so this is a really big deal."

Facebook and other Internet firms have filed court petitions seeking to disclose more information about the role of the companies in the NSA program, in the hopes this would ease concerns among Internet users.

"The more transparency there is, the better everyone would feel about it," he said.

"From reading all the press you couldn't get a sense whether the number of the requests the government makes is closer to a thousand or closer to 100 million."

He said Facebook's "transparency report" indicated it received "on the order of 9,000" requests for data from officials in the United States, but the company was not allowed to disclose how many of these were national security requests.

Zuckerberg declined to comment on the value of the in protecting the nation.

"I don't know all the things they are doing to protect our safety," he said.

"My general belief is that the more transparent they are about what they are doing, the more comfortable the public will be about it."

The comments were less harsh than a week earlier, when Zuckerberg appeared at a California conference.

"It is our government's job to protect all of us and also protect our freedoms and protect the economy and protect companies," he said at the San Francisco event. "Frankly, I think the government blew it."

Zuckerberg said he was in Washington to press immigration reform through his advocacy group Fwd.us.

He said he did not want to separate the debate on immigration for "high skills" people sought in the tech sector from the broader question of undocumented immigrants, estimated at 11 million.

"It's a much bigger problem than the high skills piece," he said. "Eleven million people are being treated unfairly."

Explore further: Digital dilemma: How will US respond to Sony hack?

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Facebook CEO says IPO made company stronger

Sep 12, 2013

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg didn't really want to take his company public last year, but he has changed his mind now that the Internet social network's stock is steadily rising.

Google, Facebook condemn online spying

Jun 08, 2013

Google chief Larry Page and Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg condemned online spying Friday and called for governments to be more revealing about snooping on the Internet.

Recommended for you

Digital dilemma: How will US respond to Sony hack?

Dec 18, 2014

The detective work blaming North Korea for the Sony hacker break-in appears so far to be largely circumstantial, The Associated Press has learned. The dramatic conclusion of a Korean role is based on subtle ...

UN General Assembly OKs digital privacy resolution

Dec 18, 2014

The U.N. General Assembly has approved a resolution demanding better digital privacy protections for people around the world, another response to Edward Snowden's revelations about U.S. government spying.

Online privacy to remain thorny issue: survey

Dec 18, 2014

Online privacy will remain a thorny issue over the next decade, without a widely accepted system that balances user rights and personal data collection, a survey of experts showed Thursday.

Spain: Google News vanishes amid 'Google Tax' spat

Dec 16, 2014

Google on Tuesday followed through with a pledge to shut down Google News in Spain in reaction to a Spanish law requiring news publishers to receive payment for content even if they are willing to give it away.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.