Let’s watch Mark Zuckerberg testify in front of Congress

Category: Technology
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You can read the pre-released statement Zuckerberg will deliver here before he says it out loud.

2:35 pm: We’re getting started with comments from Science and Transportation Committee chair, Sen. John Thune of South Dakota. He’s laying out the details of the issue as well as a top-level analysis of why people feel victimized by this scandal. “I’m not convinced that Facebook’s users have the information they need to make meaningful choices.”

2:40 pm Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein now providing commentary. She’s focusing on the Russian Internet Research Agency issue, which Thune mostly avoided.

2:45 pm Senator Chuck Grassley now making his points to Zuckerberg. Almost everyone is explicitly reminding Zuck of how many users the service has. Grassley is calling out specific revenue numbers. Now, he called out other tech companies like Google, Apple, and Amazon. Nice reminder of the possible scope of this thing. Grassley seems to steer clear of Russia as well, but he did mention the Obama campaign from 2012.

2:50 pm Senator Bill Nelson evoking the 2012 FTC mandate regarding Facebook’s responsibility regarding user data. The Facebook livestream comments are getting antsy and want to hear Zuckerberg speak. Hard to argue with that sentiment. He flat out threatened Congressional regulation if Facebook and other tech companies can’t figure out this privacy puzzle.

2:55 pm Zuck speaks! “Facebook is an idealistic and optimistic company.”

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

2:57 pm Zuckerberg is laying out the steps they’re undertaking to try and fix it. The first step is investigating the Cambridge Analytica issue.

Second step is to investigate all app developers and ban offenders.

Third, developers now can’t access as much information.

3:00 pm Senator Chuck Grassley asks if there are other companies who got information like Cambridge Analytica. Zuckerberg says he can send the Senator a list of banned apps after the meeting. Zuckerberg says they investigate usage patterns and reports about apps to see if they’re doing something sketchy. He also says they will be more proactive about it.

3:05 pm Senator Bill Nelson asks about a potential pay service on Facebook in which users pay money so they can’t be targeted with ads. Zuck admits that some people don’t like ads, but says they would rather have relevant ads than irrelevant ones. Zuck says you can turn off ad targeting, but neglects the fact that it’s very hard to find.

The idea of paying for a more secure internet isn’t new. In fact, there’s a PopSci article about it. You can read it here.

3:10 pm Senator John Thune quotes Wired to start off his comments. “Why should we trust Facebook to ensure user privacy and give people a clearer picture of your privacy policies?” Mark starts his reply with the signature mention of how he started the company in his dorm room.

Written By Stan Horaczek

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