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Facebook's Zuckerberg heads into his second day of grilling by Congress

14 April 2018, 01:41 | Marta Robbins

Facebook's Zuckerberg heads into his second day of grilling by Congress

Facebook's Zuckerberg heads into his second day of grilling by Congress

Zuckerberg repeatedly went back to explaining how they can decide what their fellow Facebook users can see.

Yet the hearings in Washington managed to showcase the normally press-shy Zuckerberg's ability to perform as an able and well-rehearsed, if a bit stiff, CEO of one of the world's biggest companies - and the degree to which much of Congress appears befuddled about technology and the relevant issues.

Members pressed Zuckerberg on the company's privacy policies and often declared that Facebook needs to do more to protect user data.

- Facebook will offer users worldwide the privacy options demanded by European countries in a regulation taking effect in May, Zuckerberg told Representative Gene Green, a Texas Democrat.

There's a lot Zuckerberg doesn't know (or says he doesn't know) that House lawmakers think he should.

"For the most part, so far, this has been a victory for Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg and enormous validation that D.C.is ineffectual", said Scott Galloway, who teaches marketing at New York University.

During the hearing, Facebook shares made a noticeable jump, gaining 4.5 percent, adding $20 billion to its market cap - the biggest daily gain in almost two years.

"After we were slow to identify the Russian information operations in 2016, this has become a top priority for our company to prevent that from ever happening again, especially this year, in 2018, which is such an important election year with the United States mid-terms, but also major elections in India, Brazil, Mexico, Hungary, Pakistan and a number of other places", he said. At other times, Zuckerberg played up the company's global audience: something between 85-90% of Facebook's users are based outside the USA, creating a raft of unique problems.

He also disclosed that his company was "working with" special counsel Robert Mueller in the federal probe of Russian election interference and said it was working hard to change its own operations in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica revelations.

"I started Facebook, I run it, and I'm responsible for what happens here".

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"I think everyone should have control over how their information is used,"Mr Zuckerberg said".

"This is a complex issue that deserves more than a one-word answer", Zuckerberg answered. On a question if Facebook has a political bias, he said the platform's goal was not to engage political speech. We have to make sure those connections are positive.

By the close of Wednesday's hearing, Zuckerberg had spent roughly 10 out of the previous 24 hours testifying before Congress. "Your right to privacy and the limits of your right to privacy, and how much you give away in modern America in the name of, quote, connecting people around the world", Durbin said.

Still, he said, lawmakers need to be careful, noting that new rules or laws could hurt smaller businesses more than a behemoth like Facebook.

Greg Walden, R-Ore., suggested government regulation of Facebook.

Latta asked. Zuckerberg responded, to Latta and others, that Facebook believes it has complied with the decree.

"I think we may be updating it a little bit". But the app also collected data from the Facebook friends of users who had downloaded the app.

The public profile info was snatched by a rogue personality quiz app created by UK-based academic Aleksandr Kogan, who then flogged it to Trump-affiliated firm Cambridge Analytica.

He asked Zuckerberg if his company allowed extreme uses of Facebook user data by the 2012 Obama campaign, citing a series of March tweets by Obama campaign official Carol Davidsen. The Cambridge Analytica scandal has put a focus on data sharing at Facebook. He assured senators the company would have handled the situation differently today.



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