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Zuckerberg Bobs, Weaves at the Senate Hearing

Mark Zuckerberg's CEO acknowledged Tuesday that the company had not informed the Federal Trade Commission that Cambridge Analytica had access to personal data belonging to millions of Facebook members. despite its settlement with the commission in 2011 over previous unauthorized data sharing complaints.

Zuckerberg was admitted at a joint hearing of the Commerce and Judiciary Committees of the US Senate. In response to a question from Senator Bill Nelson, D-Fla., Zuckerberg said Facebook did not disclose the Cambridge Analytica data breach to the FTC because "we considered it a closed case. . "

In hindsight, it was "clearly a mistake" to take Cambridge Analytica to the word when he promised to delete the data, said Zuckerberg. Facebook did not follow up to confirm that the data had been deleted.

The exchange took place at the start of a grueling public hearing in front of 44 US senators, following revelations that Cambridge Analytica, a UK-based data analysis company , accessed the personal information of about 87 million Facebook members. the presidential campaign of 2016.

 Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg demonstrates data confidentiality
before the Senate Committee on April 10, 2018

Facebook CEO
Mark Zuckerberg faces questions about data privacy at a US Senate Joint Committee hearing on
April 10, 2018.

Data Disaster

The disclosures began several weeks ago, when a whistleblower who previously worked for Cambridge Analytica claimed that Facebook user data had been used to target voters during the 2016 US presidential campaign.

On Tuesday, Zuckerberg was confronted by dozens of angry lawmakers who asked him whether new laws on confidentiality and disclosure should be promulgated in the United States, given the lack of openness and transparency in the United States. the share of Facebook. of 2 billion active users per month.

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One of the richest and most powerful rulers of Silicon Valley, Zuckerberg took responsibility for the data breach during his opening testimony.

"I started Facebook, I run it, and I take responsibility for what's going on here," he said.

However, on a number of occasions, he either deflected the questions, or stated that he was not personally aware of the key decisions, or asked the members to let his staff provide more information on several questions after the hearing.

Mind My Business

Senator Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., Questioned Mr. Zuckerberg on reports that Palantir – Peter Thiel's data analysis company – had erased Facebook's data during the period when Cambridge Analytica was using the data from Facebook in the 2016 elections. Thiel, a known supporter of President Trump and a board member of Facebook, is well known to Zuckerberg. However, Zuckerberg said that he did not know if Palantir had scratched Facebook data or if it had worked with Cambridge Analytica.

In another exchange, Senator Roy Blunt, R-Mo., Asked Zuckerberg if Facebook was using a technique called "multi-device tracking," in which user data is tracked even though the One of the devices is not directly connected to Facebook. The FTC had already raised concerns about the practice, Blunt noted. Zuckerberg has asked his staff to follow up on the issue to clarify the company's current practice.

Zuckerberg was questioned several times to find out if he would support regulatory oversight, perhaps at the level observed in Europe, where privacy and data disclosure laws are much more stringent than state laws. -United.

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Zuckerberg expressed support for additional regulations under the right circumstances and said that he would welcome further dialogue on this matter.

The ACLU challenged Zuckerberg's testimony that Facebook users can control how their information is used, and called on Congress to enact comprehensive privacy legislation.

"Contrary to what Zuckerberg has repeatedly said, Facebook users do not have complete control over all of their information," said Neema Singh Guliiani, legislative counsel of the ACLU. "It's time to make Facebook and other companies give users total transparency and control."

It would seem that Zuckerberg has tried to be as direct as possible without getting into the weeds in his answers to many detailed questions about disclosure, privacy and data practices, which were launched to him by officials with different levels of social expertise. media, observed Wayne Kurtzman, research director of social and experiential solutions at IDC.

"Zuckerberg was trying to be as candid as the situation allows – which also includes gently educating some senators on technology, not just privacy and platforms – and staying in each senator's Q & A" said Kurtzberg. Commerce Times. "He skilfully avoided the rabbit hole of every measurement point measured and stored and how it evolved."

Facebook will have to work to justify Zuckerberg's hope that "what we do with the data is not surprising for people," Kurtzman said. For this to become a reality, Facebook must encourage its users to gain knowledge about data – not just publicly disclose how the data is used.

Zuckerberg is scheduled for the second leg on Wednesday, when he will appear in front of the United States.
House Committee on Energy and Trade.

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David Jones is a freelance writer based in Essex County, New Jersey. He wrote for Reuters, Bloomberg, New York Crain Affairs and The New York Times .