‘I’m Sorry’, Facebook Boss Tells European Lawmakers

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks during the annual F8 summit at the San Jose McEnery Convention Center in San Jose,

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks during the annual F8 summit at the San Jose McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, California on May 1, 2018. Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg announced the world’s largest social network will soon include a new dating feature — while vowing to make privacy protection its top priority in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

JOSH EDELSON / AFP

 

Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg apologised to the European Parliament on Tuesday and said the social media giant is taking steps to prevent a repeat of a massive breach of users’ personal data.

Zuckerberg also pledged to keep investing in Europe as he made the latest stop on a tour of contrition over the Cambridge Analytica scandal that began in the US Congress in April.

Zuckerberg told the livestreamed hearing in Brussels that it has become clear in the last two years that Facebook executives “haven’t done enough to prevent these tools from being used for harm”.

“And that goes for fake news, foreign interference in elections or developers misusing people’s information. We didn’t take a broad enough view of our responsibility,” he said.

“That was a mistake, and I’m sorry for it.”

Facebook admitted that up to 87 million users may have had their data hijacked by British consultancy Cambridge Analytica, which worked for US President Donald Trump during his 2016 campaign.

The Silicon Valley giant has told the European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, that the personal data of up to 2.7 million Europeans may have been sent inappropriately to Cambridge Analytica, which has since filed for bankruptcy in the US.

The Facebook chief welcomed the EU’s sweeping new personal data protection rules, which come into effect in three days, saying that his website was adopting similar steps.

– ‘Keeping people safe’ –

Zuckerberg said Facebook was bringing in new features including a special “clear history” button that would allow them to delete any cookies or browsing history details it stores.

He also told the leaders of the European Parliament’s political groups that Facebook would make fresh investments to protect its users in the wake of the scandal.

“It’s going to take time to work through all of the changes we must make. But I’m committed to getting it right, and to making the significant investments needed to keep people safe,” he added.

“I expect this will significantly impact our profitability. But I want to be clear: keeping people safe will always be more important than maximising our profits.”

Zuckerberg meanwhile admitted that Facebook had been “too slow to identify Russian interfering” in the 2016 US presidential ballot, but was working with European governments for future elections.

Facebook also serves a valuable social role with tens of thousands of people having used its Safety Check feature “after the recent terrorist attacks in Berlin, Paris, London and here in Brussels”, Zuckerberg said.

The Facebook chief staged a U-turn on Monday and agreed to the hearing being webcast, in a further bid to limit the fallout from the data scandal.

Angry EU lawmakers had objected to initial plans for it to be held behind closed doors.

European Parliament President Antonio Tajani, who welcomed Zuckerberg to parliament, urged him to ensure people’s data was respected.

In April, Tajani rejected Zuckerberg’s initial offer to send a more junior executive in his place, saying it would be a “big mistake” for him not to answer questions from an elected body that regulates a market of 500 million people, many of them Facebook users.

Tajani said MEPs want to know if “people used data for changing the position of the citizens”, including during the shock 2016 referendum for Britain to leave the EU.

– ‘Hear the truth’ –

Objecting to a closed-door hearing, MEPs insisted Zuckerberg face a grilling similar to his 10-hour interrogation in US Congress last month.

Guy Verhofstadt, who heads the ALDE liberals group in parliament, dropped his plan to boycott the event now that it would be “transparent and public”.

Inviting Europeans to send him questions for Zuckerberg, Verhofstadt, a former Belgian prime minister, tweeted that EU citizens “deserve to hear the truth”.

EU Justice Commissioner Vera Jourova recently paid Zuckerberg a backhanded compliment for having admitted that the Facebook scandal showed the need for strict new rules despite the reluctance of US internet giants.

The EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which comes into effect on Friday, aims to give users more control over how their personal information is stored and used online, with big fines for firms that break the rules.

Zuckerberg, who has repeatedly apologised for the massive data breach, told the US Congress in April that the more stringent EU rules could serve as a model globally.

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Facebook Boss Faces European Parliament Over Data Scandal

File photo of Facebook’s Chief Executive Officer, Mark Zuckerberg   Facebook boss, Mark Zuckerberg, will face tough questions later on Tuesday

Facebook Suicide, Murder Videos Heart-breaking - Zuckerberg
File photo of Facebook’s Chief Executive Officer, Mark Zuckerberg

 

Facebook boss, Mark Zuckerberg, will face tough questions later on Tuesday at the European Parliament over the fallout from the Cambridge Analytica data breach scandal.

The social network boss’s appearance will be live-streamed to the public after angry EU lawmakers objected to initial plans to host the hearing in Brussels behind closed doors.

His grilling by the heads of the parliament’s political groups at around 1630 GMT comes three days before the EU introduces sweeping new personal data protection rules, which the Facebook chief has now welcomed.

“Great news for EU citizens,” European Parliament President Antonio Tajani tweeted on Monday about the decision to stream the hearing after days of bitter wrangling.

MEPs had demanded that Zuckerberg show the transparency the scandal calls for.

Facebook admitted that up to 87 million users may have had their data hijacked by British consultancy Cambridge Analytica, which worked for US President Donald Trump during his 2016 campaign.

The Silicon Valley social network has told the European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, that the personal data of up to 2.7 million Europeans may have been sent inappropriately to Cambridge Analytica, which has since filed for bankruptcy in the US.

Tajani, who first invited the young American billionaire to testify before parliament back in March, will meet him around 1600 GMT, followed by parliamentary leaders.

The Italian politician has warned Zuckerberg it would be a “big mistake” for him not to answer questions from an elected body that regulates a market of 500 million people, many of them Facebook users.

Tajani said MEPs want to know if “people used data for changing the position of the citizens,” including during the shock 2016 referendum for Britain to leave the EU.

In April, Tajani rejected Zuckerberg’s initial offer to send a more junior executive in his place.

Objecting to the latest plans for a closed-door hearing, MEPs insisted Zuckerberg face a grilling similar to his 10-hour interrogation in US Congress last month.

‘Hear the truth’

Guy Vehofstadt, leader of the ALDE liberals group in parliament, had vowed to boycott the interrogation if it were not public.

“I will attend the hearing with Mr Zuckerberg as webstreaming makes it now transparent and public,” Verhofstadt tweeted on Monday.

“EU citizens have been most affected by the recent scandal and deserve to hear the truth,” the former Belgian premier said, inviting Europeans to send him questions for Zuckerberg.

Udo Bullmann, of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament, said it would have been a “farce” not to have a public event.

The Greens party said “pressure worked” on Zuckerberg.

EU Justice Commissioner Vera Jourova paid Zuckerberg a backhanded compliment in recent weeks for having admitted that the Facebook scandal showed the need for strict new rules despite the reluctance of the US internet giants.

The EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which comes into effect on Friday, aims to give users more control over how their personal information is stored and used online, with big fines for firms that break the rules.

The laws will cover large tech companies like Facebook, Google, and Twitter that use personal data as an advertising goldmine, as well as firms like banks and also public bodies.

Zuckerberg, who has repeatedly apologised for the massive data breach, told the US Congress in April that the more stringent EU rules could serve as a model globally.

AFP

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Facebook Board Member Called Modi’s India Dumb For Rejecting Free Basics, Now India Looks Smart

In 2016, the “Pope of Silicon Valley” — Marc Andreessen — backed off social media after tweeting “anti-colonialism has been

In 2016, the “Pope of Silicon Valley” — Marc Andreessen — backed off social media after tweeting “anti-colonialism has been economically catastrophic for the Indian people for decades. Why stop now?”

The billionaire venture capitalist and Facebook board member was angry because Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government rejected Facebook’s plan to offer free internet — a free internet that Facebook would have control over.

In light of Facebook’s ethical fumbles — new revelations keep surfacing about how Facebook exposed millions of users’ data for four years —  India is looking smarter than the other parts of the world that gave Facebook free access to data.

After being “burned to a crisp” for manhandling Facebook users’ data, “Cambridge Analytica’s ashes blew away on 2 May,” Naked Security reported.

Andreessen criticized India’s opposition to Free Basics on Facebook, likening India’s opposition to free Internet to anti-colonialism. His comment caused such an uproar that he apologized and deleted it.

Critics argued that Facebook’s Free Basics violates tenets of net neutrality, which stipulate that all internet content and users should be treated equally, CNN Money reported. They said it was dangerous to allow Facebook to decide what content was allowed on Free Basics, and what was not.

Andreessen disagreed. “Denying world’s poorest free partial Internet connectivity when today they have none, for ideological reasons, strikes me as morally wrong,” — Marc Andreessen (@pmarca) February 10, 2016.

Cambridge Analytica wasn’t an aberration. A twin named Cubeyou turned up in April: yet another firm that dressed up its personal-data snarfing as “nonprofit academic research,” in the form of personality quizzes, and handed over the data to marketers.”

In a private message leaked in 2010, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg wrote, “Yea so if you ever need info about anyone at Harvard . . . just ask.” His friend asked how he did it, Fast Company reported. “People just submitted it,” he said. “I don’t know why.”

“They ‘trust me,’” he added. “Dumb fucks.”

Those were the early days of moving fast and breaking things, and nearly 15 years later, Zuckerberg certainly regrets saying that. But even then he had caught on to a lucrative flaw in our relationship with data at the beginning of the 21st century, a delusional trust in distant companies based on agreements people don’t read, which have been virtually impossible to enforce. It’s a flaw that has since been abused by all kinds of hackers, for purposes the public is still largely in the dark about, even today.” — Fast Company

Rejecting Free Basics
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Illustration: Nishant Goswami

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Facebook Blocks 200 Apps Over Data Misuse Investigation

Facebook Inc has so far suspended around 200 apps in the first stage of its review into apps that had

Facebook Inc has so far suspended around 200 apps in the first stage of its review into apps that had access to large quantities of user data, in a response to a scandal around political consultancy, Cambridge Analytica.

“The apps were suspended pending a thorough investigation into whether they misused any data,’’ Ime Archibong, Facebook’s vice president of product partnerships said on Monday, May 14, 2018.

Facebook said it has looked into thousands of apps to date as part of an investigation that Mark Zuckerberg, the Chief Executive Officer of Facebook, announced on March 21, 2018.

Zuckerberg had said the social network will investigate all apps that had access to large amounts of information before the company curtailed data access in 2014.

“There is a lot more work to be done to find all the apps that may have misused people’s Facebook data and it will take time.

“We have large teams of internal and external experts working hard to investigate these apps as quickly as possible,” Archibong said.

Facebook was hit by the privacy scandal in mid-March after media reports that Cambridge Analytica improperly accessed data to build profiles on American voters and influence the 2016 presidential election.

The incident led to a backlash from celebrities and resulted in the company losing billions in market value.

Zuckerberg apologised for the mistakes his company made and testified before the U.S. lawmakers.

The company, however, regained much of its lost market value after it reported a surprisingly strong 63 percent rise in profit and an increase in users when it announced quarterly results on April 25, 2018.

Read more at Reuters

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Zuckerberg Unveils Plans For Facebook Dating Service

Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg announced the world’s largest social network will soon include a new dating feature — while vowing

Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg announced the world’s largest social network will soon include a new dating feature — while vowing to make privacy protection its top priority in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal. JOSH EDELSON / AFP

 

Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg announced Tuesday the world’s largest social network will soon include a new dating feature — while vowing to make privacy protection its top priority in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

Zuckerberg unveiled the plans as he addressed Facebook’s annual F8 developers conference in San Jose, California — emphasizing that the focus would be on helping people find long-term partners.

“This is going to be for building real, long-term relationships, not just hookups,” Zuckerberg said in presenting the new feature, noting that one in three marriages in the United States starts online — and that some 200 million Facebook users identify as being single.

Under the new feature, users will be able to create a separate “dating” profile not visible to their network of friends, with potential matches recommended based on dating preferences, points in common and mutual acquaintances.

It will be free of charge, in line with Facebook’s core offering. The announcement sent shares in the online dating giant Match.com tumbling, finishing the formal trading day down 22 percent.

The 33-year-old CEO also said the dating offer was built from the ground up with privacy and safety in mind, as he underscored the firm’s commitment to boosting privacy protections.

Facebook’s closely-watched developer conference comes as the giant faces intense global scrutiny over the mass harvesting of personal data by Cambridge Analytica, a British political consultancy that worked for Donald Trump’s 2016 election campaign.

Facebook has admitted up to 87 million users may have had their data hijacked in the scandal, which saw Zuckerberg grilled at length by the US Congress last month.

“We need to make sure that never happens again,” Zuckerberg told the audience, lightening the talk by sharing that friends made on online streaming video watch party at the social network of his hours testifying before Congress.

‘Clear history’ 

In a related move, Facebook announced an upcoming feature called “Clear History” that will allow users to see which apps and websites send the network information, delete the data from their account, and prevent Facebook from storing it.

The social network has already moved to limit the amount of data it shares with third-party applications and plans further steps to prevent a repeat of the Cambridge Analytica debacle, Zuckerberg said.

Facebook is also reviewing applications overall as well as auditing those that accessed large amounts of data to make sure access isn’t abused, he said.

“Security isn’t a problem than you ever fully solve,” Zuckerberg said, outlining the slew of efforts by Facebook to battle election interference, misinformation, spam among other challenges.

“This is an arms race; we are going to be working to stay ahead of our adversaries forever.”

Zuckerberg’s blend of humour, humility, confidence and determination in a keynote presentation seemed to resonate with the gathering of developers, who credited Facebook with taking responsibility for problems and working on fixing them.

“I respect that they came out with it and didn’t do a cover-up,” said Malik Gillins of Movez, a startup behind an app crafted to streamline social event planning.

CCS Insight analyst Geoff Blaber was among analysts who felt Zuckerberg struck a successful balance between addressing the data privacy scandal and keeping outside developers focused on building apps to enhance the social network.

“Defiant message from Zuckerberg at #F8,” Blaber wrote on Twitter. “Feels like the first time they’ve been on the front foot in this saga.”

 Message translation 

Facebook separately announced that its popular Messenger app would soon be able to translate missives in real time, deploying artificial intelligence to enable text conversations between people using different languages.

The feature will launch in the United States with English and Spanish translations of conversations in the Marketplace section of Facebook, and will be extended to general Messenger use in coming weeks, the service said in a blog post.

Facebook joins internet giants Amazon, Google and Microsoft in offering artificial-intelligence based translation features — most prominently Google’s Pixel ear buds which promise real-time translation across dozens of languages.

Plans were also revealed to simplify the Messenger app, which critics contend has gotten clunky, and add group voice and video calls to Facebook’s other messaging service WhatsApp.

The slew of announcements at the developer-centric “F8” conference also included the arrival of a stand-alone Oculus Go headset to widen support for virtual reality by supporting social experiences such as watch parties.

AFP

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Cambridge Analytica & Why Diversity In Tech Matters

The story of Cambridge Analytica’s involvement with Facebook and the accessing of data for millions of Facebook users is troubling.

The story of Cambridge Analytica’s involvement with Facebook and the accessing of data for millions of Facebook users is troubling. But as Leah Wright Rigueur and Bärí A. Williams in a blog for Huffington Post, the whole incident illustrates why diversity in tech really does matter.

“While the deliberate political marginalization of racial minorities hasn’t changed over the decades, what has become increasingly clear as Facebook and Cambridge Analytica offered their alarming and convoluted narratives is that the technology that allows politicos to target these groups has evolved dramatically,” Rigueur and Williams wrote.

Rigueur is a historian and assistant professor of public policy at the Harvard Kennedy School and author of “The Loneliness of the Black Republican.” Williams previously served as lead counsel for Facebook and created its supplier diversity program.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg recently testified before Congress about political, digital, and privacy abuses enabled by Facebook. Much of the controversy centers about the social media giant’s dealings with Cambridge Analytica, a data and political consulting firm that worked extensively on the president’s 2016 campaign. Cambridge Analytica improperly accessed the private information of some 87 million Facebook users.

“In doing so, Cambridge Analytica provided the means for the Trump campaign not only to activate likely supporters but to influence minorities not to vote at all. (While Congress and the public are still sorting out the details, these efforts to depress minority voter turnout paralleled the campaign of “information warfare” orchestrated by Russia’s Internet Research Agency during the presidential contest.),” reported the Huffington Post.

Of course, this isn’t the only time efforts have been made to discourage the minority vote. “During the 1964 presidential election, for instance, a Republican consultant was indicted on charges of electoral fraud after he distributed more than a million misleading leaflets that claimed Martin Luther King Jr. wanted Black voters to write in his name for president,” Rigueur and Williams wrote.

And in 1980, Ronald Reagan had consultants who came up with a strategy of “holding down the black turnout.”

“Cambridge Analytica’s ability to target marginalized groups of voters was only possible because Facebook completely overlooked the potential for a nefarious organization to do so. This oversight, in the face of a long and glaring history of such attempted exploits, is a symptom of an industry culture that prioritizes speed and deprioritizes the lives of users in general, but racial minorities in particular. That, in turn, is a reflection of the absence of diversity in Silicon Valley, especially in leadership and policymaking positions,” Rigueur and Williams wrote.

Keep in mind, that according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission reminds us that only 1 percent of management in Silicon Valley is black. And only just recently, Facebook named its first black director, Ken Chenault, to the board.

“Diversity is imperative at the highest levels in tech. Companies must elevate the opinions, suggestions and thought leadership of minorities, particularly around ideation, testing and implementation of new products. If they can’t do it quickly within the leadership, do it through supplier diversity programs and hire consultants to provide this information,” Rigueur and Williams concluded.

diversity in tech
FERGUSON, MO – NOVEMBER 04: Residents cast their votes at a polling place on November 4, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri. In last Aprils election only 1,484 of Ferguson’s 12,096 registered voters cast ballots. Community leaders are hoping for a much higher turnout for this election. Following riots sparked by the August 9 shooting death of Michael Brown by Darren Wilson, a Ferguson police officer, residents of this majority black community on the outskirts of St. Louis have been forced to re-examine race relations in the region and take a more active role in the region’s politics. Two-thirds of Fergusons population is African American yet five of its six city council members are white, as is its mayor, six of seven school board members and 50 of its 53 police officers. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

 

 

 

diversity in tech
WASHINGTON, USA – APRIL 11: Facebook co-founder, Chairman and CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies before the House Energy and Commerce Committee in the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill April 11, 2018 in Washington, DC. This is the second day of testimony before Congress by Zuckerberg, 33, after it was reported that 87 million Facebook users had their personal information harvested by Cambridge Analytica, a British political consulting firm linked to the Trump campaign. (Photo by Yasin Ozturk/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

 

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#ZuckerBowl Without A Clear Winner As Facebook Hearings End

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies before a joint hearing of the US Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee and Senate

#ZuckerBowl Without A Clear Winner As Facebook Hearings End
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies before a joint hearing of the US Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee and Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill, April 10, 2018, in Washington, DC.  JIM WATSON / AFP

 

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg emerged largely unscathed Wednesday from two days of high-stakes hearings that saw US lawmakers grill the billionaire over how the online giant feeds users’ data to advertisers and chide him over privacy rights.

The marathon 10 hours of questioning was one of the biggest spectacles in Congress in recent memory, followed blow by blow on social media under the hashtags #ZuckerBowl and #ZuckUnderOath.

Channelling public anger over data privacy lapses — including most spectacularly the leak of personal information from 87 million Facebook users to a political consultant — lawmakers in both House and Senate raised the spectre of regulations to bring online firms to heel.

The 33-year-old CEO conceded that some regulation of social media companies is “inevitable,” while offering a laundry list of reform pledges at Facebook and vowing to improve privacy and security.

But he stiffly defended Facebook’s business model — specifically the way it uses data and postings from the 2.2 billion users of its free platform — calling it necessary to attract ad revenue the $480 billion company depends on.

In the wake of the massive leak of user information to Cambridge Analytica, which worked for Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign, Zuckerberg reiterated that the company had shut down the pipeline that allowed data — including his own — to slip without consent into the hands of third parties.

A day earlier Zuckerberg took personal responsibility for the data breach.

Yet in his testimony to the House Energy and Commerce Committee, he was also steadfast in arguing that Facebook’s users themselves are choosing to make their data available and that the company’s “opt-in” provisions offered them sufficient control.

“Every time that a person chooses to share something on Facebook, they’re proactively going to the service and choosing that they want to share a photo, write a message to someone.”

“Every time there is a control right there,” Zuckerberg said.

– ‘Real trust gap’ –

Zuckerberg faced tougher questions from House lawmakers over Facebook’s stance than during Tuesday’s five-hour session in the Senate, where his defence of data sharing was weakly challenged.

“It strikes me that there’s a real trust gap here. Why should we trust you?” asked Democratic Representative Mike Doyle.

“The only way we’re going to close this trust gap is through legislation that creates and empowers a sufficiently resourced expert oversight agency, with rulemaking authority to protect the digital privacy and ensure that companies protect our users’ data.”

– A path forward –

Some analysts said Zuckerberg’s appearance suggests a new path forward for social media under closer scrutiny.

“Zuckerberg’s testimony demonstrated that the company has matured over the last decade, in particular in his acknowledgement that Facebook is responsible for the content shared on its platform,” said University of Delaware communications professor Dannagal Young.

“Acknowledging responsibility for the content shared on the platform changes how Facebook ought to engage in gatekeeping and fact-checking, and how the government might go about regulating the industry.”

Syracuse University professor Jennifer Grygiel called the hearings “an important milestone.”

“This is a first step in the process of writing much-needed regulation,” she said.

“It is clear from congressional testimony that self-regulation alone is not working and that regulatory oversight is needed in the United States in order to ensure safe social media.”

– ‘Glaring gaps’ in understanding –

Noting that a European data protection standard due to come into effect on May 25 was more stringent than what was currently in place at Facebook, Zuckerberg suggested it could serve as a rough model for US rules in the future.

Facebook is implementing the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) standard for European users next month, and some of its rules will be extended to US and other users later, he confirmed.

“The GDPR requires us to do a few more things and we are going to extend that to the world,” he said.

By one measure, Zuckerberg succeeded in his Washington appearance. Facebook shares rose five percent on Tuesday and added another 0.78 percent Wednesday in what was seen as a sign of confidence in the company after steep losses in recent weeks.

“To me, he came across as very conciliatory, especially when he took full responsibility for the mistakes of his company,” said Jessica Vitak, head of the University of Maryland’s Privacy and Education Research Lab.

“This seems to be a relatively new approach for the company and I believe at least in part responding to critique of Facebook’s slow and somewhat tone-deaf response to prior breaches that have led to user outrage.”

Others noted however that lawmakers had demonstrated little knowledge of how Facebook works — potentially complicating any regulatory effort.

“Perhaps the most important revelation of Zuckerberg’s testimony are the glaring gaps in our lawmakers’ understanding of the internal logic and business model of Facebook,” Young said.

“No one is going to be able to sufficiently regulate’ Facebook until lawmakers are adequately educated about how it works.”

AFP

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Facebook Privacy Crisis: What You Should Know About The CEO’s Intense Probe By the Congress

Three weeks ago, news broke that Cambridge Analytica, a data firm with ties to Donald Trump’s deeply flawed 2016 presidential campaign, reportedly accessed

Three weeks ago, news broke that Cambridge Analytica, a data firm with ties to Donald Trump’s deeply flawed 2016 presidential campaign, reportedly accessed the information of up to 87 million Facebook users without their knowledge. This revelation was made by Christopher Wylie a former employee of the data firm who according to The New York Times disclosed that the hack was carried out in intricate detail.

As a result of this privacy breach and unauthorized access to users data, Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO was summoned by the US Congress on Tuesday, 10th April.

During the five-hour long hearing, the 33-year-old billionaire appeared before forty-four US Senators and was made to provide answers to the following: what has gone wrong under his nose, and what he and his employees plan to do to make Facebook a safe space for users.

Here’s a synopsis of what went down during the hearing

Trump’s campaign was directly supported by Facebook

When asked whether Facebook employees worked with Cambridge Analytica, which supported Trump, during the 2016 presidential campaign, Zuckerberg said he didn’t know—but they did “help out” the campaign in some way.

“I know we did help out the Trump campaign overall in sales support in the same way that we help with all other campaigns,” he said.

Mark Zuckerberg Apologized

In a prepared statement that he read before being questioned, Zuckerberg addressed Facebook’s shortcomings.

“It’s clear now that we didn’t do enough to prevent these tools from being used as harm,” he said. “That goes for fake news, for interference in elections. 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.”

Facebook will remain a free service

When asked whether Facebook is considering forcing users to pay to block unwanted advertisements, Zuckerberg said no.

“To be clear, we don’t offer an option today for people to pay not to show ads,” Zuckerberg said. “We think offering an ad-supported service is most aligned with our mission of trying to connect everyone in the world because we want to offer a free service that everyone can afford.”

Zuckerberg will face a second grilling today, 11th April from the US House energy and commerce committee.

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We Are In Arms Race With Russia, Says Zuckerberg

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies before a joint hearing of the US Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee and Senate

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies before a joint hearing of the US Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee and Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill, April 10, 2018 in Washington, DC. Zuckerberg.  Photo Credit: JIM WATSON / AFP

 

Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg accepted personal responsibility Tuesday for the leak of data on tens of millions of its users, while warning of an “arms race” against Russian disinformation during a high-stakes hearing with US lawmakers.

In his first formal congressional appearance, the Facebook founder and chief executive answered questions for nearly five hours as he sought to quell the storm over privacy and security lapses at the social media giant that have angered lawmakers and the network’s two billion users.

Under mounting pressure over the hijacking of its user data by a British political consultant, Zuckerberg reiterated his apology for the historic breach, before being grilled over how Facebook collects and protects people’s personal information.

“It was my mistake, and I’m sorry,” Zuckerberg said about the improper sharing of 87 million people’s information by Cambridge Analytica, a firm working for Donald Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign.

“I started Facebook, I run it and I’m responsible for what happens here.”

He added that Facebook fell short in protecting the platform, noting: “That goes for fake news, foreign interference in elections and hate speech, as well as developers and data privacy.”

The 33-year-old CEO spoke of a constant struggle to guard against Russian manipulation of the Facebook platform to influence elections in the US and elsewhere.

“There are people in Russia whose job it is to try to exploit our systems and other internet systems and other systems as well,” he said.

“So this is an arms race. They’re going to keep getting better and we need to invest in getting better at this too.”

Zuckerberg has previously acknowledged the social network failed to do enough to prevent the spread of disinformation during the last US presidential race.

The Senate hearing, ahead of another appearance in the House on Wednesday, featured several tense and some friendly exchanges on Facebook’s security, hate speech and other topics.

Of the hundreds of questions he faced, none appeared to flummox him more than Senator Dick Durbin’s pointed query about where he slept the previous evening.

“Would you be comfortable sharing with us the name of the hotel you stayed in last night?” Durbin asked.

Zuckerberg paused for a full eight seconds, chuckled, grimaced and ultimately demurred.

“Um, uh, no,” he said.

And “if you’ve messaged anybody this week, would you share with us the names of the people you’ve messaged?” the Illinois Democrat persisted.

Again, a similar unwillingness to answer.

Perhaps more than any other senator during five hours of questioning, Durbin’s everyman tactic put a finger on the crux of the issue surrounding Facebook’s handling of its users’ private data.

Open to regulation

Zuckerberg said he was open to regulation, but cautioned against complex rules that might impact emerging social media firms.

“I think the internet is becoming increasingly important in people’s lives and I think we need to have a full conversation about what is the right regulation,” he told the hearing.

“You need to be careful (a new regulatory policy) doesn’t cement in the current companies that are winning.”

Zuckerberg also revealed that Facebook is cooperating with the US special prosecutor investigating Russian interference in the 2016 vote.

“Our work with the special counsel is confidential. I want to make sure in an open session I don’t reveal something that’s confidential,” he said.

Zuckerberg said he had personally not been contacted, and that he was not specifically aware of any subpoena of Facebook data.

“I believe there may be (a subpoena), but I know we’re working with them,” he said.

Swapping his customary T-shirt for a business suit and tie, the Facebook chief appeared somber as he fielded tough questions over Cambridge Analytica’s massive data breach.

“We’ve been working to understand exactly what happened with Cambridge Analytica and taking steps to make sure this doesn’t happen again,” he said in his prepared remarks.

But the show of contrition fell short for several lawmakers.

“We’ve seen the apology tours before,” Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut told Zuckerberg.

“And so, my reservation about your testimony today is that I don’t see how you can change your business model unless there are specific rules of the road.”

 Paid-for Facebook?

Dozens of protesters gathered outside Congress before the hearing wearing Zuckerberg masks and #DeleteFacebook T-shirts.

Inside the jammed hearing room, activists from the Code Pink group wore oversized glasses with the words “STOP SPYING” written on the lenses, and waved signs that read “Stop corporate lying.”

Testifying was a new step for Zuckerberg, who started Facebook as a Harvard dropout in 2004, and built it into the world’s largest social media company worth more than $450 billion.

During questioning, Zuckerberg rejected the suggestion that the social media giant, with over two billion users worldwide, has exclusive control over its market.

“The average American uses eight different apps to communicate with their friends and stay in touch with people, ranging from texting apps to e-mail,” he said.

Zuckerberg also said the company believed in an ad-supported business model, but appeared to leave open the possibility of a paid version.

“There will always be a version of Facebook that is free,” Zuckerberg told the hearing.

AFP

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Zuckerberg Not Keen To Reveal Own Personal Info

Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg arrives to testify during a Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee and Senate Judiciary

Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg arrives to testify during a Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee and Senate Judiciary Committee joint hearing about Facebook on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, April 10, 2018. Photo Credit: Win McNamee / POOL / AFP

 

Of the hundreds of questions thrown at Mark Zuckerberg by US lawmakers Tuesday, none appeared to flummox the Facebook founder more than Senator Dick Durbin’s pointed query about where he slept the previous evening.

“Would you be comfortable sharing with us the name of the hotel you stayed in last night?” Durbin asked during an intense and closely-watched hearing about online digital privacy, and Facebook’s role in what happens to personal information once users join the platform.

Zuckerberg paused for a full eight seconds, chuckled, grimaced, and ultimately demurred.

“Um, uh, no,” he said.

And “if you’ve messaged anybody this week would you share with us the names of the people you’ve messaged?” the Illinois Democrat persisted.

Again, a similar unwillingness to answer.

Perhaps more than any other senator during five hours of questioning, Durbin’s every man tactic put a finger on the crux of the issue surrounding Facebook’s failure to maintain control of the private information of tens of millions of users, amid a scandal over the gathering of personal data used to target political advertising and messaging during the 2016 presidential race.

“I think that might be what this is all about,” said Durbin, 40 years Zuckerberg’s senior.

“Your right to privacy, the limits of your right to privacy, and how much you give away in modern America in the name of connecting people around the world.”

Zuckerberg, who at 33 runs a multi-billion-dollar company with some two billion users, accepted personal responsibility for the leak of users’ data and vowed that the company will do better in guarding such information.

He also conceded Durbin’s point was a fair one. “I think everyone should have control over how their information is used,” Zuckerberg said.

AFP

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