Zuckerberg: U.S. government is a threat to the Internet
posted at 9:31 pm on March 13, 2014 by Mary Katharine Ham
The generation’s most prominent Millenial proclaiming Washington a threat to Millenials’ favorite thing— the Internet. I’ll take it:
“When our engineers work tirelessly to improve security, we imagine we’re protecting you against criminals,” Zuckerberg wrote in a blog post, “not our own government.”
Zuckerberg went on: “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 has, of course, been rather cozy with President Obama at times, but that perhaps makes this message more powerful. It’s a rare Obama-friendly Millenial who can concede that maybe the government, with Obama atop it, is not an unfailingly benevolent force in our lives. The president’s pitch was that his mere presence would make government functional and virtuous, his mere words change all that plagued Washington, D.C. Obama still believes it. It’s nice to see there are some young people who don’t. Zuckerberg references the “damage the government is creating for all of our future” with its recently revealed surveillance programs. Writing in his own Facebook post that he said he’s “called President Obama to express my frustration.” He calls for “transparency” but doesn’t seem at all confident we’ll see any.
Good. Whatever you think of the NSA programs or Mark Zuckerberg, I’m glad people are hearing this from him. On the left, many will snark that he’s one to talk about privacy, drawing no distinction between Facebook’s sometimes problematic use of data and the government taking it from private citizens without their knowledge. On the right, there will be gripes about Zuckerberg’s other political endeavors. As with any CEO, he’ll no doubt come to Washington when he needs preferential treatment in the future though to his credit the company’s lobbying budget has been quite small, even in an industry known for spending less on wooing Washington. Zuckerberg also backs immigration reform, and funded a splashy ad campaign to drum up support for it, but his politics are somewhat unpredictable. But a Facebook post by a 20-something billionaire seems like the perfect place to call out the President Between Two Ferns.