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'Spy' row: Facebook boss blasts US

Published 12/09/2013

Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook
Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook

The US government "blew it" in the row over "spying" on users of social media, Facebook founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg has said.

"It's the government's job to protect all of us, and also to protect our freedom and protect the economy, and I think they did a bad job of balancing those things here," he said at a technology conference in San Francisco.

The US government said it was not spying on Americans - but that was not helpful to companies operating around the world, he said.

However, Facebook had worked really hard with the government behind the scenes to get to the point where it could release the number of requests made by the government for information about users in the last half year - 9,000.

Confirming there was no "dragnet" for data, he said: "I wish the government would be more proactive about communicating. We take this really seriously."

Zuckerberg also praised the co-founder of Microsoft, Bill Gates, saying he was his childhood hero.

"He ran one of the most mission-driven companies that I can think of," he said.

"Microsoft had a great mission - put a computer on every desk top in every office, or every desk top in every home.

"He's one of the greatest visionaries that our industry has ever had."

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