Mark Zuckerberg on Apple vs. FBI: 'We're sympathetic with Apple'

"I don't think requiring backdoors is going to increase security," said Facebook's CEO at Mobile World Congress.

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Mark Zuckerberg is the latest tech leader to voice his support of Apple against the FBI.

“We’re sympathetic with Apple,” the Facebook CEO told the audience at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on Monday. “We believe encryption is a good thing that people will want.”

Even though Zuckerberg was clearly in support of Apple’s case for user privacy, the Facebook CEO acknowledged both sides. 

“At the same time, we feel we have a pretty big responsibility to help prevent terrorism,” Zuckerberg said, adding that Facebook cooperates with authorities to remove terrorist posts, profiles, or pages. “We have very strong policies that if there’s content [on Facebook] promoting terrorism, we’ll kick them off.”

Last week, Apple publicly contested a court order by the FBI asking them to create a “backdoor” via a weaker version of iOS that bypasses security protocol. The FBI wants to install this version of iOS in order to access an iPhone 5c that belonged to one of the San Bernardino shooters. On Friday, the U.S. Department of Justice got involved in the on-going debate between Apple and the FBI by filing a motion compelling Apple to comply with the court order. 

“I don’t think requiring backdoors is going to increase security or be the right thing to do,” Zuckerberg added.

The story behind the story: Other prominent tech CEOs have already spoken out in support of Apple. Google CEO Sundar Pichai said that “forcing companies to enable hacking could compromise users’ privacy,” and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey thanked Apple CEO Tim Cook for his leadership in this area.

Last Thursday, Facebook also released an official statement on this, echoing Zuckerberg’s nuanced stance. The social media giant acknowledged the “essential work” authorities do to keep us safe, but Facebook also pledged to “fight aggressively” against government efforts to curtail the security of tech products.

USA Today posted the entire statement below:

“We condemn terrorism and have total solidarity with victims of terror. Those who seek to praise, promote, or plan terrorist acts have no place on our services. We also appreciate the difficult and essential work of law enforcement to keep people safe.”

“When we receive lawful requests from these authorities we comply. However, we will continue to fight aggressively against requirements for companies to weaken the security of their systems. These demands would create a chilling precedent and obstruct companies’ efforts to secure their products.”

Additional reporting by Melissa Riofrio.

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