Mark Zuckerberg Wins The Question Round From US Lawmakers Only To Turn Richer
Mark Zuckerberg, the social media baron and head of Facebook addressed ten hours of
questions for 2 days from almost 100 U.S. lawmakers to emerge unaffected and much richer.
He deflected questions on the amount of control people possess over their data on the world’s
biggest social media network without any error, and avoided backing latest government
The hearings did not reveal any agreement among U.S. lawframers over the type of privacy
legislation they might wish to follow. Besides, no idea regarding timetable for action in this
matter was also known. Zuckerberg, on his part declined at a House of Representatives
committee hearing to make any commitments to back new legislation or alter the way the
social network conducts business.
“It is inevitable that there will need to be some regulation” of internet firms, Zuckerberg
mentioned, though he stayed away from any specifics.
Zuckerberg managed to divert questions as a Washington veteran, though he has never
testified at a congressional hearing before. The Internet Magnate informed lawmakers nearly
forty times that he had no ready answers and would get back to them afterwards. That was
exactly the response shown to nearly one-third of the lawmakers who were interrogating.
Democratic Representative Debbie Dingell displayed frustration with Zuckerberg’s regular
promises to revert to lawmakers later in writing. “Some things are striking during this
conversation,” she mentioned. “As CEO, you didn’t know some key facts.”
Regarding the issue of Facebook users’ control over their data, Zuckerberg seemed to
undermine this matter. He mentioned that he formed part of almost 87 million people whose
personal details was inappropriately exchanged with political consultancy Cambridge
Analytica. He did not give any further details.
His revelation that even the company’s tech-smart founder could not secure his personal data
underlined the trouble that Facebook encounters in convincing the lawmakers. The
lawmakers had to be assured that users can conveniently protect their individual information
and no further legislation with regard to Facebook is needed.
Zuckerberg was on Capitol Hill due to the Cambridge Analytica question answering queries
on how that company – which had included U.S. President Donald Trump’s election
campaign among its clients – acquired data about Facebook users.
During the initial part of the hearing Frank Pallone, the Representative of New Jersey asked
about the scope of Facebook consumers having control over their data when Facebook itself
does not have such control.
Zuckerberg also informed about the many months duration that would take to finish an audit
of other apps that has wrongly collected users’ information.
“I do imagine that we will find some apps that were either doing something suspicious or
misusing people’s data,” he said.
Zuckerberg was not able to answer Dingell, the Michigan congresswoman, when she queried
how often Facebook used computer code embedded in websites to collect dossiers on
virtually everyone who are online.
In a volley of questions on how people can delete data from Facebook, Zuckerberg
mentioned the company does “collect data on people who are not signed up for Facebook, for
security purposes.” He gave no reaction when asked how a non-Facebook member could take
out information without signing up for the service.
He further said he was not acquainted with what different media reports call “shadow
profiles,” concerning data compilation on Facebook users about whom they have no
knowledge or control.
Donning a dark suit and tie and politely prefacing nearly every remark with “Congressman”
or “Congresswoman,” Zuckerberg seemed even more controlled than he did when he testified
before senators. He abstained from cracking jokes and flashed few smiles.
The performance yielded beneficial results. Facebook shares closed up 0.78% on Wednesday
after increasing 4.5% Tuesday. During the two days, Zuckerberg’s stake in the company rose
about $3 billion.
The Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Greg Walden, informed
reporters that he would confer with committee members about conducting similar hearings
with various technology chief executives. He did not name particular companies.
Greg Walden issued a warning after the hearing to the tech community that it is a wake-up
call for the Silicon Valley that since they have grown in a “very lightly regulated
environment” if they further let things slip out of their hand they would probably end up with
Many Democrats disapproved, saying their Republican colleagues held no real interest in
holding a purposeful debate that could bring a regulatory overhaul of how technology firms
manage data. Moreover, the failure still remains in translating this bipartisan concern into regulation due to
the complexity in regulating technology issues and the strong lobbying done against any such
As has been rightly said by Alvaro Bedoya, a previous congressional aide who operated on
privacy matters for former Senator Al Franken, “If you think it is hard to pass a bill that
affects a lobbyist’s favourite client, try passing a bill that affects all of them.”