Mark Zuckerberg accused the US government of bad PR, saying it failed to communicate the balance of security and economic interests behind its internet surveillance efforts – in turn creating a massive PR problem for Facebook.

“I think the government blew it,” he said at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco on Wednesday. “It’s my job and our job to protect everyone who uses Facebook and the information they share with us. It’s our government’s job to protect all of us and also to protect our freedoms and protect the economy and companies. And I think they did a bad job of balancing those things.” Read more

Federal judges evaluated the privacy and free speech implications of a California law that would create a database of online identities for sex offenders, noting the shift in public sentiment around such data collection since voters passed the law last November and today, as revelations about the US’s monitoring of online communications continue to emerge.

“We’re living in a post-Snowden world,” said Judge Jay Bybee of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday, referencing the surveillance practices revealed by former CIA contractor Edward Snowden and questioning whether a database of email addresses and online identities intended to help solve sex crimes could be used to monitor people’s political speech.

Mr Bybee was one of three judges hearing oral arguments in a case about Proposition 35, the California law that requires convicted sex offenders to register their email addresses and user names for online news sites and social networks. The initiative was passed by a majority of voters last November, after receiving financial backing from Chris Kelly, Facebook’s chief privacy officer between 2005 and 2009. Read more

Facebook will report second quarter earnings on Wednesday, with Wall Street expecting $1.62bn in revenues and 14 cents earnings per share.

Analysts will be looking for signs of increased advertising spending among small businesses and in international markets, as growth from large US advertisers is believed to have levelled off. Read more

Facebook launched its own Twitter-style hashtag system in an attempt to bolster its fledgling search feature, and raise a challenge to its rival social network that pioneered the use of the # symbol in online communications.

Introducing the marker to Facebook posts will help the company organise comments around certain celebrities or real-time events, like sports games, concerts, or television shows. This way users can search for what other people are saying about the same topic, and advertisers could target ads against real-time trends. Read more

A New York man who rented his apartment through Airbnb was found to have violated the city’s residency laws, marking the first legal setback for the peer-to-peer home rental start-up as it faces a growing number of regulatory questions.

An administrative law judge ruled that Nigel Warren had broken a 2010 New York City law when he accepted about $600 from a Russian tourist to stay in his apartment for a few days while he was out of town. The law prohibits apartment owners from renting property for less than 30 days, and was intended to crack down on landlords who bought affordable housing units and then converted them to hotels to make more money. Mr Warren was fined $2,400. Read more

African-American teenagers are more likely to use Twitter than their white counterparts, according to a study out today from the Pew Research Center.

Researchers noted a significant jump in Twitter use among teens in general, but found that 39 per cent of African-American teens used the microblogging site compared to 23 per cent of white teens. Read more

Wall Street is anticipating another positive earnings report from Facebook after markets close on Wednesday and the social network states first quarter results.

Analysts expect to see a bump in revenues from advertising products launched last year, and hope to hear plans for future ad products, in particular, video advertising and ad plans for Facebook Home, the new super app Facebook launched for Android phones in April.

Though business in the first quarter tends to slow compared to the preceding quarter, which included the holidays and the US presidential election, analysts are expecting 36 per cent revenue growth year on year. Consensus estimates are for 13 cents in earnings per share on $1.44bn in revenue. Morgan Stanley predicts mobile advertising revenues will be $314m for the quarter, representing 25 per cent of overall advertising revenues, up from 23 per cent in the last quarter. Read more

Andreessen Horowitz is helping to put Silicon Prairie on the map of wanna-be tech hubs with its latest investment in the Des Moines, Iowa-based start-up, Dwolla.

The young internet payment network attracted $16.5m in a Series C round, led by Andreessen, with previous investors Village Ventures, Thrive Capital, and Union Square Ventures joining.

While setting up shop in the mid-western United States leaves the company far away from the investors and talent pools on the West and East Coasts, there are benefits to building a business in a less saturated market. Read more

Microsoft has closed a patent licensing deal with ZTE, one of the top five manufacturers of Android smartphones.

The deal is Microsoft’s first with a leading Chinese company, marking an important milestone in the software giant’s multi-year campaign to squeeze licensing revenues out of smartphone vendors and manufacturers.

“Experience has taught us that respect for intellectual property rights is a two-way street,” said Horacio Gutierrez, general counsel for Microsoft, “and we have always been prepared to respect the rights of others just as we seek respect for our rights.” Read more

Foursquare’s future is veering toward e-commerce, as the company’s social media roots have failed to yield revenues strong enough to excite investors.

What began as a virtual social competition for clocking the most “check-ins” at local restaurants and coffee shops is evolving into a play for a cut of local retail business.

“Twenty per cent of Foursquare check-ins are happening at retail locations, like clothing stores and shoe stores,” said Dennis Crowley, Foursquare’s chief executive and co-founder. Read more