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Fake News, Data & Privacy: What Zuckerberg Told the US Congress

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg appeared in front of the US Congress Committee on Wednesday for Day 2 of his hearing. 

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3 min read
Fake News, Data  & Privacy: What Zuckerberg Told the US Congress
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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrapped up his 48-hour testimony to the US Senate and Congress Committee on Wednesday by admitting there might be more ‘Aleksandr Kogans’ out there accessing Facebook’s data. He said Facebook is still investigating this.

He was also asked about how the platform intends to stop terrorism in the world, to which he said, “Terrorist content and propaganda has no place on Facebook and it has tools in place that effectively remove 99 percent of content related to ISIS.”


Facebook’s Business Model

One Congressman also questioned Facebook’s business model. Congressman Fred Upton wanted to know if Facebook could exist if users didn’t share their data with the platform.

Zuckerberg confirmed that although Facebook does not sell its user data, it would not be possible for Facebook to exist if users didn’t share data on the platform as it was a core part of its business model.

Congressman Ben Ray Lujan from New Mexico also pointed out that Facebook collects data from non-Facebook users as well. He said it is quite difficult for non-Facebook users to delete data collected on them, as they would have to access the platform to do so, and there are too many processes involved.

Zuckerberg was also quizzed about Facebook’s possible involvement with the Trump election campaign in 2016. Congressman John Sarbanes said the Trump campaign had 5.9 million ads running on Facebook at the time, while the Clinton campaign had only 66,000 ads.

"This raises questions of whether ad approvals were appropriate, and no way did Facebook employees get access to read Trump’s campaign?" asked Congressman Sarbanes.

Zuckerberg said Facebook applies the same standards to all campaigns and no special approval was granted.

Here are a few more highlights from Zuckerberg’s testimony:


On Fake News and Its Categories

Categories of fake news that we fight. One is economic trolls, they just right sensational things so people click on it and they make money. The second category is state actors like the Russian system. We traced back the Russian activity to a specific network within their country and took down a number of pages including that of a news organisation. That’s how we can stop the spread of false information.
Mark Zuckerberg

Facebook Complying With EU Privacy Regulations

The GDPR requires us to do a few more things and we are going to extend that to the world.
Mark Zuckerberg

Zuckerberg on Censoring Content


Is Facebook Selling User Data?

And each time there is a control there, to share it specifically or with everybody. It’s clear in the product. But we can do a better job about how advertising works.
Mark Zuckerberg

If Content Sharing By Minors Can Be Controlled

Every time someone chooses to share something, the app allows you to change the setting.
Mark Zuckerberg

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