Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg published a harshly worded blog post today criticizing US government surveillance and calling its activities a threat to the internet. Zuckerberg says that most people and companies have worked together to make the internet a secure space, and that "this is why," he writes, "I've been so confused and frustrated by the repeated reports of the behavior of the US government. When our engineers work tirelessly to improve security, we imagine we're protecting you against criminals, not our own government."
"They need to be much more transparent about what they're doing."
Zuckerberg has said on multiple occasions that he believes the government "blew it" on surveillance, and he reiterates that sentiment here, arguing that without more transparency, "people will believe the worst." Zuckerberg says that he has called President Obama to discuss the matter, using the opportunity to express his "frustration over the damage the government is creating for all of our future." Zuckerberg believes that it will be a "very long time" before there is full reform here, and that it's up to individuals to see that the internet remains safe.
Zuckerberg's frustration was likely escalated recently by a report in The Intercept, which said that the National Security Agency has at times created fake Facebook servers and used them to infect computers with malware and take files off of their local drives. That's obviously disconcerting news for Facebook, which certainly doesn't want to have its name tied with security threats and has already taken a good deal of bad publicity because of leaked NSA programs. The NSA has since denied posing as Facebook or other websites, according to The Hill.
No incident is specifically noted in Zuckerberg's blog post, but he does write extensively that Facebook goes out of its way to ensure user security. "We encrypt communications, we use secure protocols for traffic, we encourage people to use multiple factors for authentication, and we go out of our way to help fix issues we find in other people's services," he says. Facebook has already been among the tech giants pushing for greater government transparency — it's not clear what more it intends to do from here, but it is clear that Facebook isn't happy with how matters are progressing.