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11 Apr 2018

Mistakes and Apology: Yes, Resignation: No. That's Zuck for you.

Mark Zuckerberg's testimony before US Congress: What happened

In his first ever appearance before the US Congress, Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg took personal responsibility for the Cambridge Analytica data breach scandal.

Zuckerberg said he was taking measures to fix FB's privacy policies. However, his testimony failed to impress critics and was called an unappealing "dorm-room defense", unbecoming for the Facebook head.

Here are the highlights of what happened in the hearing.

In context

Mark Zuckerberg's testimony before US Congress: What happened
Zuckerberg's own privacy paranoia in a hearing on online privacy

Privacy Problems

Zuckerberg's own privacy paranoia in a hearing on online privacy

Senator Dick Durbin asked Zuckerberg if he would tell the hotel's name he stayed at the previous night. Naturally, Zuckerberg refused.

He then asked if Zuckerberg would share the names of the people he messaged this week. Zuckerberg answered in negative again.

"I think that might be what this is all about," Durbin said, clearly placing a finger on the crux of the issue.

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Today, Facebook has a clear monopoly

Senator Linsdey Graham asked Zuckerberg a rather poignant question: Who is Facebook's chief competitor?

In response, Zuckerberg did not name any one organization but side-stepped on the technicality that different segments of Facebook compete with different companies.

"You don't think you have a monopoly?" Graham asked. "It certainly doesn't feel like that to me," Zuckerberg answered.

You might have to pay to use Facebook in future

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You might have to pay to use Facebook in future

During the questioning, Zuckerberg hinted that a paid, premium version of Facebook is in the offing since that would save the company the headache of relying on third-party advertisers.

To this, Senator Orrin Hatch asked, "You said in 2010 that Facebook would always be free. Is that still your objective?"

"There will always be a version of Facebook that is free," Zuckerberg answered.


The curious case of the chair cushion

According to reports, a padded cushion was added to Zuckerberg's chair during the hearing so that he doesn't look "small" or "meek" in front of the US Congress and the entire media.

It is also believed that all of Zuckerberg's public images are crafted to make him look taller and to preserve his aura as the CEO of Facebook.

Because brand is important.

Zuckerberg is 5'7''

AI would help Facebook sort through hate speech: Zuckerberg

Zuckerberg fell back upon artificial intelligence (AI) as a response whenever he was asked tough questions on how Facebook would improve content moderation and better protect user privacy. AI would help Facebook sort through hate speech, Zuckerberg promised. A valid or vague response? You decide.

Zuckerberg owns up

Apology is in order

Zuckerberg owns up

"It was my mistake and I'm sorry. I started Facebook, I run it, and I'm responsible for what happens here," Zuckerberg said, apologizing for the scandal that involved data leak of 87 million Facebook users.

"We didn't do enough to prevent these tools from being used for harm. That goes for fake news, foreign interference in elections, hate speech, developers and data privacy."

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