Five things we learned from Mark Zuckerberg's Facebook hearing

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg acknowledged Wednesday that regulation of social media companies is "inevitable" and disclosed that his own personal information has been compromised by malicious outsiders.

Some members of Congress hold computer science degrees or other technical knowledge and were well-versed in the issues, drilling Zuckerberg about how Facebook tracks people who are not on the site and what changes the social media will make to protect user data.

"It's clear now that we didn't do enough to prevent these tools from being used for harm", he said in prepared testimony released before his appearance.

Facebook is working on a number of things, including deploying new Artificial Intelligence tools that can proactively catch fake accounts that Russian Federation or others might create to spread misinformation. "And that's not part of the bargain".

It's totally understandable! Especially given the revelations over the past few weeks about user data collected and sold to Cambridge Analytica. In the internet age, when big data has taken hold of almost every web-based service, from banking to dating apps, the ability to access third-party data to power your app is both a tremendously powerful and common business practice.

Zuckerberg says the company has already cut off the ability of apps on Facebook to collect such data. The problem is, according to mobile app insight service App Annie, Zuckerberg's company owns three of the top 10 apps in the United States and has cloned versions or features of other apps.

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Zuckerberg agreed to the hearings as pressure mounted over the Cambridge Analytica scandal and the company's own admission previous year that it had been compromised by Russians trying to influence the 2016 election.

The 33-year-old founder of the social media service showed up wearing a dark suit and tie, instead of his usual T-shirt. The pair, who have complained for months that the social network is hobbling distribution of their videos, said last week they received a notice from Facebook that their content was deemed "unsafe to the community".

"I'll have my team follow up with you so that way we can have this discussion across the different categories where I think this discussion needs to happen", Mr Zuckerberg told a joint hearing by the US Senate's Commerce and Judiciary committees, when asked what regulations he thought were necessary.

Some of the concerns that were repeatedly raised by the questions senators posed were surrounding data privacy and what Facebook itself was doing with data, targeted advertising and, of course, about the infamous Cambridge Analytica data breach, how it could have been avoided and what actions Facebook took before and after it became aware of the breach.

The stakes are high for both Zuckerberg and his company. "That's the only way we can reach billions of people".

"Not on your website", Butterfield retorted.

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On Wednesday, Zuckerberg told the House Energy and Commerce Committee he is not opposed to some kind of regulation.

"We are also awaiting the result of the processes now being undertaken by UK's Information Commissioner's Office, Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, the US Federal Trade Commission and the Australian Privacy and Information Commissioner", Edwards said.

"It was my mistake, and I'm sorry".

Mr Zuckerberg was asked whether Facebook was a monopoly."It certainly doesn't feel that way to me", he said, breaking into a smile as the audience laughed.

Facebook is "a marvelous innovation, it's an incredible company, but it's grown to the point where people have a lot of questions, " said Republican Rep. Greg Walden, Ore., the chairman of the committee, during a recent interview.

The message on Facebook's help page that notified me I was a victim of the breach. Zuckerberg demurred, saying, "This is a complex issue that I think deserves more than a one-word answer".

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His remarks came amid a second day of a congressional inquisition in the wake of the worst privacy debacle in his company's history.

  • Ryan Wade