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Zuckerberg thought he would be asked to resign, was prepared to slam Apple

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg stumbled in answering a couple questions before US Senate's Commerce and Judiciary committees, but investors seemed happy

BS Web Team  |  New Delhi 

Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg sits down following a break to resume testifying before a joint Senate Judiciary and Commerce Committees hearing regarding the company’s use and protection of user data, on Capitol Hill in Washington. Photo: Reuters

left his notes open during a break in Monday's Senate hearing. According, to an Associated Press report, the snapshots of his notes indicate that the Facebook CEO expected senators to ask if would resign in the face of the Data breach that led to severe privacy violations of 87 million users on the social networking site.

His notes also said that Apple didn't notify users of ''several apps misusing users' data''.

on Tuesday testified before the Congress and during his five-hour testimony, the lawmakers asked him some tough questions on fake news, Russian interference during the 2016 presidential election and censorship of conservative media. He also formally apologised to the Congress for mistakes that led to the scandal and emphasised that his company was rethinking its responsibility to users and society.

This is the first time that the Facebook CEO is testifying before the Congress.

During the five-hour hearing, he fielded questions on Facebook's data collection practices, the company's alleged monopoly power and his views on regulating internet companies. Senator John Kennedy slammed Facebook for its complicated terms of service agreement: "Your user agreement sucks," said Kennedy, a Republican representing Louisiana. "It's not to inform your users about their rights. I'm going to suggest to you that you go back home and rewrite it." Zuckerberg stumbled in answering a couple questions, including how Facebook staff came to the decision of not notifying users about the data issue when it first came to light in 2015. Investors, however, seemed to be happy with Mark Zuckberg; the closed up 4.5%. Some of the questions posed by the Senators were: How will you protect users' data? How will you inform users about the changes that you are making? And how do you intend to proactively stop harmful conduct instead of being forced to respond to it months or years later?

Top 10 highlights of Mark Zuckerberg's hearing at US Senate, tough questions taken up by the Facebook CEO and controversy:

1. Will ensure fair elections take place in India, says Zuckerberg at Senate hearing: has told them that his company will do everything to ensure fair polling takes place in India and other countries. "2018 is an important year for the whole world. Several countries like India, Pakistan will have elections. We'll do everything possible to ensure these elections are safe," Zuckerberg said.

2. Facebook systems do not see text sent over WhatsApp, says Zuckerberg: Facebook systems do not see the content of messages being transmitted over WhatsApp, told the US senators. This confirmation has come as a relief to the messaging app's users, who have been concerned in the aftermath of data breach scandal.


ALSO READ: I'm sorry: Facebook's Zuckerberg opens Senate hearing with an apology

3. Zuckerberg says didn't do enough to prevent Facebook from being used to harm others: For the first time, accepted that he did not do enough to prevent Facebook from being used to harm others. He said, "Facebook is an idealistic and optimistic company. For most of our existence, we focused on all of the good that connection people can do. But it's clear now that we didn't do enough to prevent these tools from being used as harm as well."

ALSO READ: Facebook data row: Here is a collection of Mark Zuckerberg's apologies

4. 'regrets Facebook's slow pace in identifying Russia interference in US presidential elections: "This is one of my top priorities is to get this right. One of my greatest regrets is we were slow in identifying the Russian operations in 2016," Zuckerberg said at the Capitol Hill.

His reply came in response to Senator Dianne Feinstein, who asked Zuckerberg what his company was doing to prevent foreign interference in US elections?

5. Zuckerberg says Facebook 'needs to do a lot better' enforcing its policies about content: "It's clear now that we didn't do enough to prevent these tools from being used for harm, as well. And that goes for fake news, for foreign interference in elections, and hate speech, as well as developers and data privacy", Zuckerberg said. We didn't take a broad enough view of our responsibility, and that was a big mistake. And it was my mistake. And I'm sorry. I started Facebook, I run it, and I'm responsible for what happens here.

6. tells the Senate how Facebook has become an 'American dream': For most of our existence, we focused on all of the good that connecting people can do. Just recently, we've seen the "Me Too" movement and the March for our Lives organized, at least in part, on Facebook. After Hurricane Harvey, people came together to raise more than $20 million for relief. And more than 70 million businesses - small business use Facebook to create jobs and grow.

ALSO READ: Jack Ma urges Zuckerberg to 'fix' Facebook and to 'take it seriously'

7. Mark explains what did: When we first contacted Cambridge Analytica, they told us that they had deleted the data. About a month ago, we heard new reports that suggested that wasn't true. And, now, we're working with governments in the U.S., the U.K. and around the world to do a full audit of what they've done and to make sure they get rid of any data they may still have.

8. What Facebook will do to prevent data leakage: To make sure no other app developers out there are misusing data, we're now investigating every single app that had access to a large amount of information in the past. And, if we find that someone improperly used data, we're going to ban them from Facebook and tell everyone affected.

To prevent this from ever happening again, going forward, we're making sure that developers can't access as much information now. The good news here is that we already made big changes to our platform in 2014 that would have prevented this specific situation with from occurring again today.

9. Questions taken up and answered by Makr Zuckerberg:

a. Besides Professor Kogan's transfer and now, potentially, Cubeyou, do you know of any instances where user data was improperly transferred to third party in breach of Facebook's terms? If so, how many times has that happened, and was Facebook only made aware of that transfer by some third party?

Zuckerberg: As I mentioned, we're now conducting a full investigation into every single app that had access to a large amount of information, before we locked down platform to prevent developers from accessing this information around (ph) 2014. As for past activity, I don't have all the examples of apps that we've banned here, but if you would like, I can have my team follow up with you after this.

b. Have you ever required an audit to ensure the deletion of improperly transferred data? And, if so, how many times?

Zuckerberg: Yes we have. I don't have the exact figure on how many times we have.

c. Why doesn't Facebook disclose to its users all the ways that data might be used by Facebook and other third parties? And what is Facebook's responsibility to inform users about that information?

Zuckerberg: It's important to tell people exactly how the information that they share on Facebook is going to be used. That's why, every single time you go to share something on Facebook, whether it's a photo in Facebook, or a message - in Messenger or WhatsApp, every single time, there's a control right there about who you're going to be sharing it with -- whether it's your friends or public or a specific group -- and you can -- you can change that and control that in line.

d. What is Facebook doing to prevent foreign actors from interfering in U.S. elections?

Zuckerberg: This is one of my top priorities in 2018 -- is to get this right. I -- one of my greatest regrets in running the company is that we were slow in identifying the Russian information operations in 2016. We expected them to do a number of more traditional cyber attacks, which we did identify and notify the campaigns that they were trying to hack into them.

But we were slow at identifying the type of new information operations.

e. What are you doing to punish those who exploit your platform in that regard?

Zuckerberg: Well, you're not allowed to have a fake account on Facebook. Your content has to be authentic. So we build technical tools to try to identify when people are creating fake accounts -- especially large networks of fake accounts, like the Russians have -- in order to remove all of that content. And, just last week, we were able to determine that a number of Russian media organizations that were sanctioned by the Russian regulator were operated and controlled by this Internet Research Agency. So we took the step last week of taking down sanctioned news organizations in Russia as part of an operation to remove 270 fake accounts and pages, part of their broader network in Russia, that was -- that was actually not targeting interference as much as -- sorry, let me correct that.

It was (ph) primarily targeting -- spreading misinformation in Russia itself, as well as certain Russian-speaking neighboring countries.

f. During the 2016 campaign, worked with the Trump campaign to refine tactics. And were Facebook employees involved in that?

Zuckerberg: Senator, I don't know that our employees were involved with Although I know that we did help out the Trump campaign overall in sales support in the same way that we do with other companies.

g. There have been reports that Facebook can track a user's internet browsing activity, even after that user has logged off of the Facebook platform. Can you confirm whether or not this is true?

Zuckerberg: I know that the - people use cookies on the internet, and that you can probably correlate activity between -- between sessions.

10. Will do more to tackle hate speech in Myanmar: today promised to do more to tackle hate speech in Myanmar. What's happening in Myanmar is a terrible tragedy, and we need to do more..., he told the US lawmakers when Senator Patrick Leahy asked him about Facebook's role as a breeding ground for hate speech against Rohingyas.

Will make sure Facebook is a positive tool, says Zuckerberg: Ahead of his senate hearing, posted on Facebook, "in an hour I’m going to testify in front of the Senate about how Facebook needs to take a broader view of our responsibility -- not just to build tools, but to make sure those tools are used for good. I will do everything I can to make Facebook a place where everyone can stay closer with the people they care about, and to make sure it's a positive force in the world."

More than 2 billion people use Facebook every month. 1.4 billion people use it every day; more than the population of any country on Earth except China, and more than four times the population of the United States. It's also more than 1,500 times the population of my home state of South Dakota.

Plus, roughly 45 percent of American adults report getting at least some of their news from Facebook. A quiz app used by approximately 300,000 people led to information about 87 million Facebook users being obtained by the company

First Published: Wed, April 11 2018. 16:37 IST
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