Five key points from Mark Zuckerberg’s Senate testimony

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. / AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB

Facebook’s founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg appeared before the Senate Judiciary and Commerce committees fielding questions with regards to the data breach of users of the social media network. 

Here are five key points from the five-hour long hearing.

Apologies On Cambridge Analytica

Cambridge Analytica used data scraped from 87 million Facebook users to influence the 2016 United States election. It was also reported that the firm sought to influence the 2015 Nigerian 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.”

“When we heard back from Cambridge Analytica that they had told us that they weren’t using the data and deleted it, we considered it a closed case. In retrospect, that was clearly a mistake. We shouldn’t have taken their word for it. We’ve updated our policy to make sure we don’t make that mistake again.”

What happens to your data?

“Yes, we store data … some of that content with people’s permission.”

“There’s a very common misconception that we sell data to advertisers. We do not sell data to advertisers.”

“What we allow is for advertisers to tell us who they want to reach, and then we do the placement … That’s a very fundamental part of how our model works and something that is often misunderstood.”

Facebook doesn’t peek into your phone

During the session, Senator Gary Peters asked a direct question, “Yes or no, does Facebook use audio obtained from mobile devices to enrich personal information about users?”

Zuckerberg’s replied with a terse “No.”

Zuckerberg values his privacy

A Senator quizzed Zuckerberg if he’d be comfortable sharing the name of the hotel he stayed the previous night. He proceeded to ask if Zuckerberg would share the names of the people he had messaged.

“I would probably not choose to do that publicly here,” replied Zuckerberg. “I think everyone should have control over how their information is used.”

Paid Facebook

“There will always be a version of Facebook that is free,” said Zuckerberg, hinting at the possibility of a paid ad-free version.

 



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