United States lawmakers frustrated with evasive Facebook CEO Zuckerberg

United States lawmakers frustrated with evasive Facebook CEO Zuckerberg”

To Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's credit, users do opt in to a lot of Facebook's services, many of which share your data either directly with the company, third-party developers or advertisers. The 33-year-old executive's answered that he didn't know.

In a series of questions on how people can remove data from Facebook, Zuckerberg said the company does "collect data on people who are not signed up for Facebook, for security purposes".

Facebook on Monday said: "Our goals are to understand Facebook's impact on upcoming elections - like Brazil, India, Mexico and the USA midterms - and to inform our future product and policy decisions". The company said it will be alerting any affected users about any abuses discovered during the audit. Behind closed doors, Facebook explicitly refers to itself as a global company, not an American one, and the company knows its future growth is reliant on new worldwide users.

"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.

With 44 Senators asking questions, and just five minutes of time allotted for each, there was limited potential for follow-up questions to and grilling of the CEO.

The tech billionaire was summoned to the Capitol Hill for the second round of questioning on Facebook's failure to protect user data and prevention of data misuse by Cambridge Analytica that caused political interference in the 2016 USA presidential election. Perhaps, one of the representatives there will push Zuckerberg on the idea that his "top priority has always been our social mission of connecting people". It's not enough to give people a voice.

At the Senate hearing, Zuckerberg had said he was willing to consider new restrictions, and agreed to send suggestions to Congress. Senators signaled they may move to rein in Facebook, which has thrived as part of an online industry that's largely escaped regulation. That information was sold to Cambridge Analytica, a political consulting firm that worked for the Trump campaign.

Facebook was surrounded in controversy long before the Cambridge Analytica stuff surface.

Zuckerberg was answering a question from Eshoo when he informed lawmakers about his personal data, a reference to the Cambridge Analytica scandal that has rocked his company over the past several weeks.

In states like Delaware, Nevada, and Wyoming, a Russian citizen can start a company with few verifications (one academic study found it's easier (pdf) to do this in the U.S. than Panama) and register it in the name of someone who's a director in name only and has no visible stake in the company-while actually owning it via a foreign tax haven.

Zuckerberg agreed with Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vt., who asked if Facebook would work with the government to assure privacy protections for American users.

He said he was not familiar with so-called "shadow profiles", which media reports have described as collections of data about users that they have no knowledge of or control over.

"I hope not", he responded.

He continued: "I want to be careful here because our work with the special counsel is confidential and I want to make sure that in an open session I'm not revealing something that is confidential".

"After more than a decade of promises to do better, how is today's apology different?" said Republican South Dakota Sen.

"I don't want anyone at our company to make any decisions based on the political ideology of the content", he added. He is working on artificial intelligence technology to weed out hate speech and at the same time ensure that they don't block people for the wrong reasons.

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