11 April 2018Hot off the Press
Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg faced Congress on Capitol Hill today after recent controversy concerning the platform’s privacy system.
For five hours, Mr Zuckerberg was questioned by 44 members of Congress on a number of privacy and consumer issues that have arisen after the political consultancy firm, Cambridge Analytica, was found to be harvesting data from at least 87 million Facebook users around the world.
Senator Dean Heller questioned the 33-year-old billionaire asking him if he considered the 87 million users as victims. Mr Zuckerberg responded: “Senator, I think yes. I mean they did not want their information to be sold to Cambridge Analytica by a developer and that happened and it happened on our watch. So even though we didn’t do it, I think we have a responsibility to prevent that and be able to take action sooner.”
The scandal has sparked considerable backlash from Facebook users which has been expressed by many through the #DeleteFacebook movement.
Much of the testimony surrounded the issue of whether or not users have full control of their data if second and third parties have the potential to access it, and if this data is truly deleted once the user makes a decision to remove it from the account.
Senators repeatedly questioned Mr Zuckerberg over the lack of changes he has implemented over the last 10 years concerning new privacy strategies as well as focusing on consumer awareness in respect to privacy rights.
Continued scrutiny has been placed on Facebook’s commitment to privacy, and their overall social and political stance after alleged Russian interference during the 2016 US Election, the rise of fake news, and censorship of conservative advertisements.
Mr Zuckerberg said: “It’s clear now that we didn’t do enough to prevent these tools from being used for harm and that goes for fake news, foreign interference elections, and hate speech, as well as developers and data privacy. We didn’t take a broad enough view of our responsibility, and that was a mistake and I’m sorry.”