Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg vows to fight election interference, fake news

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg vows to fight election interference, fake news
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg vows to fight election interference, fake news
Author

14 April, 2018

He's faced questions from USA politicians for a second day over the data privacy scandal.

The internet magnate is scheduled to testify at 10 a.m. EDT (1400 GMT) before the U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee, a day after he appeared for almost five hours before a U.S. Senate hearing. Facebook has also been accused of not identifying foreign sources of political advertising during the 2016 USA presidential campaign.

Zuckerberg has taken questions on a range of issues, from fake news and terrorist content to Russian propaganda and data privacy, as us lawmakers consider possible regulatory remedies.

On Tuesday the social media tycoon took questions from the US Senate for almost five hours, but resisted repeated efforts to get him to support new regulation.

Earlier this month we reported that Facebook's COO Sheryl Sandberg stating that the company is exploring the possibilities of paid ad-free service for users.

Facebook does not sell data. If we're being real, not many of us read through exactly what's being shared as we rush to log in to the mobile version of PlayerUnknown's Battleground using Facebook.

"I think that might be what this is all about", said Mr Durbin.

Other lawmakers were similarly stymied by the rapid-fire format, unable to probe beyond surface-level accusations that Facebook had breached users' trust.

Zuckerberg is facing a grilling before lawmakers on matters related to Cambridge Analytica's allegedly improper acquisition of Facebook data for use in the 2016 USA presidential campaign, along with Russia's alleged use of the platform to spread misinformation.

At Tuesday's congressional hearing, Illinois Senator Dick Durbin asked Mark Zuckerberg if he'd be comfortable sharing the name of the hotel he stayed at the previous night.

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On regulation, Zuckerberg said he was open to it.

This kind of policy isn't unique to Facebook - many other companies, such as Netflix and Spotify, routinely mine data to market people's information.

"It's clear now we didn't do enough", Zuckerberg said on the protection of private user data and to prevent the hijacking of data on millions by Cambridge Analytica. Facebook shares closed up 0.78 percent on Wednesday after rising 4.5 percent Tuesday.

"But I think you have to be careful about putting regulation in place". He said he was not opposed to Congress introducing new laws to govern the company, but fended off attempts to pin him down on details.

"There are plenty of anecdotal examples where people will be verbally discussing items - never having actually been on the internet at the time - and then the next time they get on Facebook, ads for things that they were verbally discussing with each other will show up", he said.

Pointedly, though, congressional interrogators on Tuesday warned a suit-clad Zuckerberg that tough regulation and scrutiny might follow if Facebook failed once again to improve its business practices.

"Your user agreement sucks", Senator John Kennedy, a Louisiana Republican, told Zuckerberg. If individuals truly want to protect themselves from data mining, they need to start with their own profiles and restrict the amount of personal info they broadcast to the public by checking their privacy settings - yes, they've likely changed since the last time you looked.

That disclosure pitched Facebook into a crisis of confidence among users, advertisers, employees and investors who were already struggling with Facebook's reaction to fake news and its role in the 2016 election.

Patience with the social network had already worn thin among users, advertisers and investors after the company said last year that Russian Federation used Facebook for years to try to sway USA politics, an allegation Moscow denies.


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