US lawmakers to probe Zuckerberg over Facebook data-privacy controversy
Mark Zuckerberg will be grilled by a US senate panel on Tuesday and the House of Representatives lawmakers on Wednesday over the data-breach scandal as pressure mounts for stricter regulations for social media platforms. Here's a low-down on the latest developments as Facebook reels in the aftermath of allowing Cambridge Analytica to harvest 87 million users' information to benefit Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign.
The American people demand to regain control over their personal information.— Ed Markey (@SenMarkey) April 7, 2018
When Mark Zuckerberg testifies before the Senate on Tuesday, he must explain exactly how @facebook is using, sharing, selling, and protecting their sensitive data.https://t.co/p9lIG2oQ2d
"A day of reckoning is coming for websites like @facebook. We need a privacy bill of rights that all Americans can rely upon," Democratic senator Ed Markey tweeted. Highlighting the need for "a digital bill of rights" to protect online users' dignity, privacy, Ro Khanna, a California Democrat, tweeted, "Self-regulation will not work. Congress must act in the public interest to protect consumers, citizens."
However, some analysts argue that Zuckerberg's Capitol Hill appearance won't be anything more than a public relations exercise. "Zuckerberg's dance before Congress will be delicate, but in the end, he'll agree to some meaningless adjustments to how Facebook operates just to get out of there in one piece," said Roger Kay, an analyst-consultant at Endpoint Technologies Associates told AFP.
Meanwhile, Facebook announced on Friday that it would endorse the "Honest Ads Act," a bill that requires political ads on its platform to furnish details about their funders and sources, which it would verify before green-lighting them. Calling external election interference "a problem bigger than any one platform", Zuckerberg said the Honest Ads Act would "help raise the bar for all political advertising online."
Beginning from the US, Honest Ads Act will be expanded worldwide in the coming months. "These steps by themselves won't stop all people trying to game the system. But they will make it a lot harder for anyone to do what the Russians did during the 2016 election and use fake accounts and pages to run ads," Zuckerberg said on his Facebook page.
Meanwhile, Facebook on Sunday said it had suspended CubeYou, a US-based data analysis firm, after CNBC reported it harvested its users' information for commercial purposes, much like Cambridge Analytica. If CubeYou refuses or fails Facebook's audit, its apps will be permanently banned from it.