Earlier, we reported that Mark Zuckerberg would testify before Congress starting on Tuesday afternoon and continuing on Wednesday morning. The Senate Judiciary and the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee held a joint hearing on Facebook, social media privacy, and the use and abuse of data. Facebook CEO answered questions from lawmakers regarding how Facebook collects and handles its users’ personal information.
One of the great things about this hearing was that Senators were asking very basic questions about how its service works. Senator Bill Nelson, a ranking member of Commerce, Science, and Transportation, begins his remark directly to Zuckerberg: “If you and other social media companies do not get your act together, none of us are going to have privacy anymore.”
It was my mistake, and I’m sorry
Zuckerberg was questioned regarding whether Facebook can track internet browsing even after someone has logged out of Facebook, and how far is that true? Zuckerberg tried to deflect, suggesting that staff would follow up, but then was pushed to concede that Facebook does indeed track cookies.
The number of topics under discussion in this hearing is a bit overwhelming, but everything always comes back to the 2016 presidential election and Russia. On this, Zuckerberg states that Facebook is “working with the office of special counsel Robert Mueller”, though he is not entirely sure whether the company has received subpoenas.
Zuckerberg has also stated that the company is hiring “dozens” more Burmese language content reviewers, taking down accounts of “specific hate speakers”, and putting together a special product team that will produce some kind of “specific product changes.” He made such a remark in response to Senator Patrick Leahy, who pressed Zuckerberg hard on its role in Myanmar’s ethnic cleansing of Rohingya.
He is too questioned about his personal privacy as to whether he will be comfortable sharing the name of the hotel he stayed in last night. Zuckerberg replies, “NO.”
He confesses, “The broader mistakes we made were not taking a broad enough view of our responsibility”. As he continues, “I agree that we are responsible for the content.”
Zuckerberg will be having his turns with as many as 44 senators who are likely in for a wide-ranging airing of grievances about the company and its unprecedented power. He is to keep with his answers as the testimony continues though he has already remarked that “It was my mistake, and I’m sorry.”