Zuckerberg endures tough questioning over data
Mark Zuckerberg endured tough questioning from lawmakers in his second appearance on Capitol Hill yesterday as Facebook was hammered for taking a cavalier approach to consumer data.
Facebook’s founder and chief executive drew the ire of some legislators as he was unable or unwilling to answer pointed questions about the company’s business model and privacy practices, but he avoided any major mis-steps.
The hearing before the House energy committee was sparked by the leak of information on 87 million Facebook users to the research firm Cambridge Analytica. On Tuesday he emerged largely unscathed from a five-hour senate barrage.
Kathy Castor, a Democratic congresswoman from Florida, told Mr Zuckerberg yesterday: “Americans do not like to be manipulated, we do not like to be spied on.
“Facebook now has evolved to a place where you are tracking everyone. You are collecting data on just about everybody. . . I don’t think the average American really understands that.”
In another bruising exchange, Jan Schakowsky, a Democrat from Illinois, asked Mr Zuckerberg: “Who is going to protect us from Facebook?”
One several occasions an unsteady Mr Zuckerberg was interrupted by impatient lawmakers and chastised for being evasive.
Mr Zuckerberg declined to give a clear response when pressed by Frank Pallone, the top committee Democrat, to make a commitment to change all Facebook’s default settings to minimise the possible collection of personal data.
“Congressman, this is a complex issue that I think deserves more than a one word answer,” Mr Zuckerberg said. Mr Pallone replied: “That’s disappointing to me.”
Greg Walden, the Republican chair of the House commerce committee, said to the Facebook founder in his opening statement: “I think it’s time to ask whether Facebook moved too fast and broke too many things.”
Facebook shares were trading up about 1 per cent yesterday having risen more than 4 per cent on Tuesday during Mr Zuckerberg’s smoother Senate appearance.– Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2018
Mark Zuckerberg arrives to testify at the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Capitol Hill.