Zucker­berg en­dures tough ques­tion­ing over data

The Irish Times - Business - - BUSINESS -

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.

Track­ing

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

PHO­TO­GRAPH: CHIP SO­MOD­EV­ILLA/GETTY

Mark Zucker­berg ar­rives to tes­tify at the House En­ergy and Com­merce Com­mit­tee on Capi­tol Hill.

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