Chief Facebook, Yahoo execs speak at conference in SF

September 11, 2013 7:04:44 PM PDT
The annual TechCunch Disrupt conference went out with a bang on Wednesday, its third and final day. The chief executives of Yahoo and Facebook took to the stage in San Francisco to answer some tough questions.

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer was the hot ticket at TechCrunch Disrupt. People packed the floors and the aisles to hear about the infamous Vogue photo shoot.

"The photographer came over and basically said the article's basically about leadership being in unconventional forms, like this is entirely too conventional, would you please move upside down and I said sure," she said.

And of course another hot topic was the company's new logo.

"Well, I mean, I should say that I like the way the logo turned out and I like the way we did it," Mayer said.

Mayer says she's most proud they didn't spend millions of dollars on it. She wants to invest in people and making Yahoo big on smartphones. That's a boat Facebook almost missed.

When TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington told Zuckerberg that a year ago their mobile products sucked, the Facebook CEO answered, "Oh, they did. So we took a year and it was painful and we retooled that and we took a lot of [expletive] cuz we weren't focused on making money on mobile."

But now, CEO Mark Zuckerberg says 40 percent of Facebook's money comes from mobile devices, and those chat heads have really taken off.

But the big question on everyone's mind -- what are these companies doing when the federal government comes asking for people's private data? A short question with a long answer.

"Frankly, I think the government blew it," Zuckerberg said, starting by sounding off. "The government's comment was don't worry basically we're not spying on any Americans. But it's like oh wonderful that's really helpful to companies who are trying to serve people around the world and inspire confidence in American internet companies."

So Facebook sued the government for the right to reveal the NSA made 9,000 requests for people's data over the past six months. A number Zuckerberg considers small, but still bigger than he'd like.

As for Yahoo, "We push back on requests in terms of the NSA, we can't talk about those things because they're classified," Mayer said. When asked why, she answered, "Releasing classified info is treason. It generally lands you incarcerated."

Both companies are involved in a new lawsuit for more transparency from the NSA.

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