Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg on Tuesday appeared before the Congress in a five-hour testimony where US’ top lawmakers asked him questions on the latest data breach, relations with Russia, fake news and privacy concerns. Zuckerberg delivered his opening statement by saying that Facebook in its existence has focused on the goodness of connecting people across the globe but in the process failed to do enough when it came to protecting users from its misuse.
“We didn’t do enough”
Zuckerberg initiated with “Facebook is an idealistic and optimistic company. For most of our existence, we focused on all of the good that connecting people can do. But it’s clear now that we didn’t do enough to prevent these tools from being used as harm as well.”
He also shed light on disinformations and fake news and took responsibility for what has been happening surrounding the company by saying “We didn’t take a broad enough view of our responsibility, and that was a big mistake. And it was my mistake, and I’m sorry. I started Facebook, I run it, and I’m responsible for what happens here.”
What really happened with Cambridge Analytica
Speaking about where it all started from, Zuckerberg claimed that Cambridge Analytica lied to them about having used millions of users’ data and Facebook made a mistake by taking their word for the same. “We’ve updated our policy to make sure we don’t make that mistake again. It will take some time to work through all the changes we need to make across the company”, added the 33-year-old billionaire.
One for the future
About investigation of data breaches in the future, Zuckerberg said that every one of their apps is under constant monitoring so situations like the one involving Cambridge Analytica doesn’t keep occurring again. He also revealed that if the company finds out that data is being illegally used, Facebook will ban the app from its platform and notify the affected users.
“We need to take a more active view in policing the ecosystem and watching and looking out and making sure that all the members in our community are using these tools in a way that’s going to be good and healthy.”
Russian spies and US election
On being asked whether threats from Russian operations are severe, the Facebook chief said “There are people in Russia whose job it is to try to exploit our systems and other internet systems…. So this is an arms race. They’re going to keep getting better and we need to invest in getting better at this too”.
Zuckerberg said that his top executives are fully cooperating in the investigation that involves interference from Russians. About whether all of this helped Trump in winning the presidential election, the CEO dodged by saying “I know we did help out the Trump campaign overall in sales support in the same way we do with other campaigns”.
The CEO of Facebook seems to have handled the five-hour grilling pretty well having fielded several questions from a panel of 44 senators from the Joint Senate Committee and limiting any kind of potential followup questions for now. But the stakes are clearly high for both him and his company weeks after reeling from its worst-ever data breach. With all that in the past, it remains to be seen how Facebook comes out of all this bad publicity and fix the failures its CEO just admitted to. Though Zuckerberg had a tense day in Washington, his company enjoyed close to 5 percent surge in shares, the most it has gained in two years’ time.