Facebook didn't cause Arab Spring, says Zuckerberg

Speaking at e-G8 Internet Forum, Facebook CEO says it is the Internet, not specifically his site, that fuels Middle East protests.

Mark Zuckerberg at eG8 311 (photo credit: REUTERS)
Mark Zuckerberg at eG8 311
(photo credit: REUTERS)
As far as claims go that Facebook is responsible for the Arab Spring protests sweeping across the Middle East, Mark Zuckerberg had a simple response on Wednesday: Dislike.
Speaking at the e-G8 Internet Forum in Paris, Zuckerberg downplayed Facebook’s role in places like Cairo, Homs and Tunis.
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“It’s not a Facebook thing, it’s an Internet thing,” he said when asked about his site’s influence on the Middle East’s popular uprisings. “I think Facebook was neither necessary nor sufficient for any of those things to happen.
If it weren’t Facebook, it would be something else,” added the 27-year-old mogul.
On Tuesday, Zuckerberg was invited to the Elysee Palace for a personal meeting with French President Nicolas Sarkozy – an encounter which occurred after Sarkozy repeatedly offended the Internet genius with his hard line on Web regulation.
According to a report in Britain’s the Daily Mail, Zuckerberg was joined by Google CEO Eric Schmidt in taking offense to Sarkozy’s comments, which called for governments to step up their role in policing content on the Internet.
“Now that the Internet is an integral part of most people’s lives, it would be contradictory to exclude governments from this huge forum,” Sarkozy said.

“Nobody could, nor should, forget that these governments are the only legitimate representatives of the will of the people in our democracies,” he continued. “To forget this is to take the risk of democratic chaos, and hence anarchy.”
After meeting with Sarkozy, Zuckerberg spoke to the media and seemed to have toned down his response. His meeting, AFP reported, “was fun.”
As for his thoughts on Sarkozy, Zuckerberg added, “I understand where he’s coming from. I appreciate the chance to be here, and be part of the dialogue.”