Testimony day 2: Zuckerberg's own data getting breached and more
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg definitely faced more grilling questions in his second day of hearing before the US Congress. The Congressmen touched on all sorts of topics, from Zuckerberg's college hot-or-not service Facemash to how Facebook moderates content. One of the major revelations of day two was that Zuckerberg's own data was compromised in the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
California Democratic Representative Anna Eshoo asked, "Was your personal data included in the CA breach?" "Yes," Zuckerberg replied. He did not elaborate on how much or the nature of his personal data that was obtained by Cambridge Analytica. This means that either Zuckerberg himself took the "thisisyourdigitallife" quiz on Facebook or one of his friends did.
Successfully evading several questions, Zuckerberg said that Facebook took "responsibility" for the data leak controversy, but refused to explicitly "bear the liability for the misuse of people's data." Stating Cambridge Analytica to be solely at fault, what Zuckerberg essentially meant was that while Facebook takes some blame, it doesn't want to be sued. The company still just wants to self-regulate.
Zuckerberg admitted that companies besides Cambridge Analytica might have the data of 87 million Facebook users. He said, "I don't believe it was a large number, as we complete the audits we will know." On being asked to define "large number," he said, "A handful."
The hearing brought to light that several Congressmen don't understand how Facebook operates. Congressman Chris Collins said he was relieved to know that Facebook doesn't sell user data to advertisers as Zuckerberg clarified that the company only helps advertisers target their offerings. He said, "What we allow is for advertisers to tell us who they want to reach, and then we do the placement."
During the hearing, Zuckerberg admitted that the company collects data on people who don't even have a Facebook account "for security purposes." He couldn't answer how a non-Facebook member can remove his data from a service he isn't even on, without first getting on it.
Every lawmaker on Capitol Hill wanted to regulate Facebook, and they asked Zuckerberg to cooperate with formulating a law around data collection and privacy. However, Zuckerberg emerged relatively unscathed having faced questions from almost 100 politicians in nearly 10 hours of public testimony. The hearing ended with no clear consensus on what kind of privacy legislation should be pursued and no timeline for action.
The media also managed to photograph Zuckerberg's notes in preparation of the testimony. They revealed that if he was asked to resign, his response would be, "Founded Facebook. My decisions. I made mistakes. Big challenge, but faced problems before, going to solve this one."