In Senate Hearing, Zuckerberg Protects His Own Privacy Just Fine
In his 5-hour marathon testimony to the US Congress, Zuckerberg guarded his own personal details when questioned.
There was momentary silence in the Senate as Senator Dick Durbin asked Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to disclose the details of the hotel he stayed in the previous night and the names of the people he messaged the previous week – Zuckerberg declined to answer both.
Senator Durbin followed up by saying:
I think that might be what this is all about, your right to privacy, the limits of your right to privacy, and how much you give away in modern America in the name of ‘connecting people around the world’.
Zuckerberg promptly replied saying that everyone should "have control over how their information is used."
Privacy has been widely debated the world over after the Cambridge Analytica scandal, in which the British data firm had improperly acquired Facebook information of around 87 million people.
Zuckerberg testified before the US Congress on Wednesday, 11 April, and during his five-hour testimony, the lawmakers asked him tough questions on fake news, Russian interference during the 2016 presidential election, and censorship of conservative media.
Amidst a wide array of topics, he tackled issues regarding Facebook's involvement in Russia and Myanmar, data privacy and protection, and Facebook's data collection practices.
When asked about Russia, Zuckerberg agreed that his company was involved with Special Counsel Mueller's office, but did not disclose the nature of their relationship, calling it confidential.
In contrast, he had a more forthcoming approach when asked about Myanmar.
And there are three specific things that we’re doing. One is we’re hiring dozens more Burmese language content reviewers because hate speech is very language-specific. It’s hard to do it without people who speak the local language and we need to ramp up more effort there dramatically. Second is, we’re working with civil society in Myanmar to identify specific hate figures, so we can take down their accounts, rather than specific pieces of content. And third is, we’re standing up a product team to do specific product changes in Myanmar and other countries that may have similar issues in the future, to prevent this from happening.Mark Zuckerberg, CEO, Facebook
However, he did note that more should be done regarding this issue.
Things took a turn when Zuckerberg saw himself asked intrusive questions concerning Facebook's data collection methods. Zuckerberg admitted that he was unaware of Alexander Kogan's app's terms of service and it was someone from his app review team that was in charge.
He also admitted that he and his company were under the impression that the data taken by Cambridge Analytica had been deleted, as the firm had assured them it had.
Senator, when we heard back from Cambridge Analytica that they had told us that they weren’t using the data and had deleted it, we considered it a closed case. In retrospect, that was clearly a mistake. We shouldn’t have taken their word for it and we’ve updated our policies in how we’re going to operate the company to make sure that we don’t make that mistake again.Mark Zuckerberg, CEO, Facebook
Even though Zuckerberg answered every question thrown at him to the best of his abilities, he admitted in his opening statement that it was his mistake and he should be held responsible for it.
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