Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg took to his own site Thursday to criticize President Obama and his administration for its secret spying tactics and to urge greater transparency of its online-surveillance programs.
"The U.S. government should be the champion for the Internet, not a threat," Zuckerberg wrote on his Facebook page. "They need to be much more transparent about what they're doing, or otherwise people will believe the worst."
The missive was issued in partial response to reports this week that the National Security Agency has deployed spoofs of the social network to infect computers with malware "implants." The Menlo Park, Calif.-based company has denied having any knowledge of any such program and said it's new encryption standards would block any such hacking.
Zuckerberg enumerated the way his company works to keep user privacy secure on Facebook, explaining that such safeguards are the underpinnings of the Internet and make it a "shared space" everyone can participate in.
But government surveillance is disrupting what the Internet is and wants to be, Zuckerberg said.
"That's why I've been so confused and frustrated by the repeated reports of the behavior of the U.S. government," he said. "When our engineers work tirelessly to improve security, we imagine we're protecting you against criminals, not our own government."
Zuckerberg also said he has called Obama to share his frustration "over the damage the government is creating for all of our future." But "it seems like it will take a very long time for true full reform," the billionaire added.
UPDATE: The National Security Agency on Thursday denied using a doppelganger version of Facebook, saying it lacks the ability to do so and only conducts foreign intelligence operations that are "lawful and appropriate."