Google's Brin says Facebook threatens online freedom

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"You have to play by their rules, which are really restrictive," he said. "The kind of environment that we developed Google in, the reason that we were able to develop a search engine, is the web was so open. Once you get too many rules, that will stifle innovation."

Brin also criticized Facebook for making it difficult for users to switch their data to other services.

A Facebook spokesman declined to comment.

Google has launched its social network, Google Plus, but has struggled to grow the service to compete with Facebook.

Facebook, which has more than 800 million users worldwide, is preparing for an initial public offering that could value the company at as much as $100 billion.

In Sunday's interview, Brin also identified governments trying to control their citizens and overly restrictive anti-piracy laws as threats to Internet freedom. He said he is most concerned by efforts by countries such as China, Saudi Arabia and Iran to censor the Internet. 

He said that anti-piracy legislation that Google helped to defeat earlier this year would have lead the United States to use the same technology as China to block websites.

"I haven't tried it for many years but when you go on a pirate website, you choose what you like; it downloads to the device of your choice and it will just work — and then when you have to jump through all these hoops [to buy legitimate content], the walls created are disincentives for people to buy," Brin said.

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