News

Facebook called the President to complain

Facebook called the President to complain

FACEBOOK: Mark Zuckerberg took his beef with spying directly to the top. Photo: Associated Press

By Alexei Oreskovic

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Facebook Inc Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg blasted the U.S. government’s electronic surveillance practices on Thursday, saying he’d personally called President Barack Obama to voice his displeasure.

“When our engineers work tirelessly to improve security, we imagine we’re protecting you against criminals, not our own government,” Zuckerberg said in a post on his personal Facebook page.

“I’ve called President Obama to express my frustration over the damage the government is creating for all of our future. Unfortunately, it seems like it will take a very long time for true full reform,” the 29-year-old Zuckerberg continued.

The phone call and Zuckerberg’s 300-word missive on Thursday come amid a series of revelations about controversial government surveillance practices that were leaked by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.

“The president spoke last night with Mark Zuckerberg about recent reports in the press about alleged activities by the U.S. intelligence community,” a White House official said.

The official declined further comment and referred to the National Security Agency’s statement released earlier on Thursday saying recent media reports that allege the NSA has infected million of computers around the world malware and that the NSA is impersonating U.S. social media or other websites are inaccurate.

Facebook, which operates the world’s No. 1 Internet social network with 1.2 billion users, declined to comment beyond Zuckerberg’s post.

Secret documents published on news website The Intercept on Wednesday showed that the NSA impersonated Facebook web pages in order to gather information from targets. When those people thought they were logging into Facebook, they were actually communicating with the NSA. The agency then used malicious code on the fake page to break into the targets’ computers and remove data from them.

Last year, Facebook moved to encrypt all its pages, making such impersonation more difficult.

Previous media reports based on leaked Snowden documents detail how the government may have tapped into communications cables that link data centers owned by Google Inc and Yahoo Inc, intercepting user data without the companies’ knowledge or cooperation.

“The U.S. government should be the champion for the internet, not a threat. They need to be much more transparent about what they’re doing, or otherwise people will believe the worst,” Zuckerberg said in his post.

(Reporting by Alexei Oreskovic; additional reporting by Mark Felsenthal in Washington, D.C.; Editing by Leslie Adler)

Recent Headlines

in Music

Royalties won’t ‘Stay’ with Sam Smith

11-overlay5

Tom Petty "Won't Back Down" over the similarities between his 1989 hit and the Grammy-nominated "Stay With Me."

in Music

Bob Dylan gives away 50,000 copies of new album to his ‘oldest’ fans

bob-dylan

The veteran rocker has struck a deal with bosses of the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) to send out copies of his latest record.

in Entertainment

Emma Watson is Belle in ‘Beauty and the Beast’

emmawatson

The former "Harry Potter" star will play the princess in a live-action version of the Disney film.

in Entertainment

Seekers of the Hollywood Sign disrupt nearby neighborhood

hollywood

Like pilgrims flocking to a holy shrine, they come from all over the world to pay homage to a symbol of celebrity.

in Music, Viral Videos

Blake Shelton plays the ‘Whisper Challenge’

16-overlay6

Jimmy Fallon and Blake Shelton play a ridiculous guessing game involving noise-canceling headphones.