Google co-founder Sergey Brin recently made the headlines when he appeared to claim that threats to web freedom are “greater then ever”, with these threats ranging from “governments trying to control citizens to the rise of Facebook and Apple-style 'walled gardens.” He has now written a post on Google+ claiming his views were misinterpreted and claiming that he does not see the “walled gardens” of Apple and Facebook as being on a par with government based censorship.
“Both have made key contributions to the free flow of information around the world,” Brin writes in the post, which he reveals wrote on an iMac. (More below)
The Guardian report suggested that Brin accused Apple of: "Stifling innovation and balkanizing the web." However, Brin claims: “I didn’t actually conflate government censorship with Apple and Facebook.” Brin has clarified the comments published by the Guardian in a post on his Google+ account.
Brin writes that the Guardian article is a “pretty good read” but is suggests that it is “a short summary of a long discussion”. He also claims: “My thoughts got particularly distorted in the secondary coverage in a way that distracts from my central tenets”. He uses his Google+ post to clarify things.
“Today, the primary threat by far to internet freedom is government filtering of political dissent,” he writes. “Other countries such as the US have come close to adopting very similar techniques in order to combat piracy and other vices. I believe these efforts have been misguided and dangerous.”
He notes that regarding the “subject of digital ecosystems that are not as open as the web itself” there has been some “misunderstanding of my views”.
“To clarify, I certainly do not think this issue is on a par with government based censorship. Moreover, I have much admiration for two of the companies we discussed - Apple and Facebook. I have always admired Apple’s products. In fact, I am writing this post on an iMac and using an Apple keyboard I have cherished for the past seven years.”
He refers to the role Facebook played in the Arab Spring. “Facebook has helped to connect hundreds of millions of people, has been a key tool for political expression and has been instrumental to the Arab Spring,” he writes.