Mark Zuckerberg Calls PRISM Reports Outrageous

Posted on June 7, 2013

Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has posted an update on his Facebook page in response to the PRISM story in The Washington Post. The Post story says Facebook is one of nine Internet companies supplying the National Security Agency with data about its users. Zuckerberg attacked the Washington Post in his comments, calling the newspaper's reporting "outrageous."

Zuckerberg says in his statement, "Facebook is not and has never been part of any program to give the US or any other government direct access to our servers. We have never received a blanket request or court order from any government agency asking for information or metadata in bulk, like the one Verizon reportedly received. And if we did, we would fight it aggressively. We hadn't even heard of PRISM before yesterday."

Zuckerberg also says they carefully review each request they get from governments for Facebook data. He says they make sure these requests always "follow the correct processes and all applicable laws." He says they then will only provide the requested data if is required by law.

Google also published a denial today. Google's says it does not allow the government to have a "back door" or "direct access" to its servers. It doesn't say that it hasn't participated in any program or agreement of any kind whatsoever to allow the government direct or indirect access to its servers, which would put the matter to rest. Zuckerberg's statement specifically omits a statement that it does not leave a back door for the government to access its servers. One of the Post's allegations is that the government has entered into "get out of jail free card" deals with companies so that they cannot be prosecuted for turning over their customers' data to the government without their knowledge or consent. The Post alleges that the deals are known only to one or two executives, so that the rest of the company team can truthfully deny the allegations.

PRISM is a serious problem for Facebook, because it is the kind of issue that might make Facebook users to decide to dump the service or cut back on the amount of time they spend on Facebook. The same goes for any other social network.

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