BARCELONA: FACEBOOK FOUNDER Mark Zuckerberg has lashed out at the US National Security Agency (NSA) over the PRISM surveillance scandal, but said the industry is working better together as a result.
Speaking on stage at Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, Zuckerberg said he thinks the industry is more "aligned" because of how "extreme" the NSA revelations were.
"It's not awesome. I think that the government kind of blew it on this," was his first reaction when asked about the scandal.
"The issues from the NSA actually have the industry working together better than I've ever seen it work together before," Zuckerberg said in his keynote.
Zuckerberg said it was now "easier in a lot of ways" to work together on projects such as Internet.org, a partnership between Facebook and six mobile phone companies including Samsung, Ericsson and Nokia to bring affordable internet access to everyone.
"The NSA issue is a real issue especially for American internet users," he added. "Trust is such an important issue when you're using any service where you share important information and we continue to work to make sure we can share everything the government is asking of us."
Zuckerberg also defended Facebook's $19bn acquisition of mobile messaging app Whatsapp last week, saying that the app is worth even more than the remarkable $19bn that the company paid for it.
"I just think that by itself it's worth more than $19bn," Zuckerberg said. "It's hard to make that case today because they still have little revenue compared to that number. Whatsapp is on a path to having more than a billion people, and there are very few services in the world that can reach that level.
"The reality is there are very few services that reach a billion people in the world. Facebook is one of the few services that has more than a billion users."
Although Zuckerberg explained his reasons behind the Whatsapp buyout, he generally failed to win over the crowd at MWC, with some attendees leaving just 20 minutes into his keynote presentation. µ