After the scandal broke this summer revealing that the National Security Agency (NSA) was spying on some Facebook users, a backlash against the site began that has only intensified since (Facebook’s own changes to its data and privacy policies haven’t helped). Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, in a conversation with The Atlantic, said that he thinks the government needs to be more transparent with what it’s doing with people’s information obtained on the site, and that the NSA PRISM spying scandal has done more to hurt people’s perceptions of Facebook than virtually anything else the company has encountered.
“From reading in the media, you couldn’t get a sense whether the number of requests that the government makes is closer to a thousand or closer to a 100 million,” Zuckerberg said. “I think the more transparency the government has, the better folks would feel.”
“Some of the government’s statements have been profoundly unhelpful,” he continued. “Like, oh, we only spy on non-Americans… What we found is that that stuff tends to not actually move the needle that much in the grand perceptions around trust. NSA stuff did.”
The exact amount of user information that Facebook has handed over to the government is unknown, though many tech giants that have been forced to comply with the NSA, including Apple, Microsoft, and Facebook, have called on the government to make the information available.