Mark Zuckerberg faces tough questions in two-day congressional testimony – as it happened

Last modified: 07: 37 PM GMT+0

On second day, Facebook CEO faced a House hearing to address data misuse in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica revelations


Zuckerberg got rougher treatment from the House of Representatives than he did from the Senate. While yesterday Zuckerberg was largely able to stick to his script, some of the representatives today pressed hard for information on Facebook’s extensive tracking of users across the internet.

Zuckerberg continued his strategy of deflecting questions and downplaying what Facebook does, but his (hopefully? presumably?) feigned ignorance of the core technology that made Facebook into the business it is simply doesn’t hold water.

The overall impression I got was that, for all Zuck’s assurances that targeted advertising is “aligned” with Facebook’s “social mission”, the company has no interest in the general public actually knowing and understanding the extent of its ability to track users and amass data profiles of them. Almost every time he mentioned the “control” Facebook gives users over their content, he was avoiding answering a question about information that Facebook collects about users without their knowledge.

But don’t just take my word for it. Here is my colleague Alex Hern’s analysis of the hearing.


And we’re done!

Thanks for joining us for our live coverage of Zuckerberg’s two days of testimony.

Cramer says that he has more choice in internet service providers in rural North Dakota than he does for social networking.

Zuck: The content reviewers we have aren’t actually in Silicon Valley for the most part.


Kevin Cramer, a Republican from North Dakota, is the final representative to speak.

Cramer says he was dissatisfied with answers on opioid ads: How quickly could you take down an illegal drug site if there was a million dollar fine attached?

Zuck says he’s committed to being more pro-active.

Cramer suggests that Facebook build a new headquarters in North Dakota, where the talent pool won’t be so tainted by the Bay Area’s liberal bias.

Duncan says that the two biggest issues are privacy and censorship. “Why not have a standard for free speech that is simply a mirror of the first amendment?” he asks.

Zuck says terrorist speech could be protected by the first amendment, and that we don’t want it to spread on the internet.

Our second to last questioner is Jeff Duncan, a Republican from South Carolina, who starts off by noting that Facebook is invaluable to him.

Buddy Carter, a Republican from Georgia, is asking Zuck what he knows about opioid addictions.

After a few minutes on that, he brings up trafficking of ivory in private groups and piracy of movies.

Carter gets to his point which is: Hate speech is difficult to figure out, but opioids, ivory trafficking, and movie piracy are not.

Ryan Costello, a Republican from Pennsylvania: What pieces of GDPR would be properly placed in American jurisprudence? Should we have right to erasure?

Zuck says he agrees with controls, and raises concern about sensitive tech like facial recognition.

Costello: Should you be able to deploy AI for facial recognition for a non-Facebook user?

Zuck: That’s a good question.

Costello: Are you ever a publisher?

Zuck: If we commission and fund it, yes. Otherwise, no.

Debbie Dingell, a Democrat from Michigan, hits Zuck hard on his apparent ignorance of his company’s basic functions: “As CEO you didn’t know some key facts. You didn’t know about key court cases regarding privacy and your company. You didn’t know that the FTC doesn’t have fining. You didn’t know what a shadow profile is. You don’t know how many apps you need to audit. You don’t know what other companies were sold the Kogan data, even though you were asked that yesterday. You don’t even know how many kinds of information you’re logging.”

Dingell is the first to raise Facebook Pixel, another way that Facebook can track browsers across the internet.

Dingell asks how many “like” buttons exist in the wilds of the internet?

Zuck says he doesn’t know.

Dingell asks how many chunks of Pixel code are out there.

Zuck doesn’t know. She asks for a 72 hour response.

Mimi Walters, a Republican from California, is showing screenshots of Facebook’s privacy settings for apps and photos.

She asks, which control governs? Is it the app permissions? Or the user’s decisions?

Zuck explains the difference between app permissions and in-line controls on content.

Walters suggests this is difficult to understand, and asks why the controls aren’t all in the same place.

Zuck says Facebook both keeps the controls in settings and also shows them to people when they are relevant.

Tim Walberg, a Republican from Michigan, asks who the bad actors that inspired Facebook to cut down on API permissions actually were.

Zuck says developers who were taking information that wasn’t relevant to their apps.

Walberg: Can Facebook guarantee that there will be no bad actors on apps on its platform?

Zuck: This is an arms race. Guarantees are difficult.

Walberg: Can you assure me that ads and content are not being denied based on specific views?

Zuck: Yes, politically. When it comes to “normal political speech”, but not for things like terrorism.

If nothing else, Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg have the full support of Representative Chris Collins.

Chris Collins, a Republican from New York, says that it’s very good that we now all know that Facebook doesn’t sell data.

Somewhere, a Facebook PR staffer is cracking open a bottle of champagne.

Hudson: What’s the difference between hate speech and speech we don’t like?

Zuck: It’s complicated. This is an area where society is shifting.

Richard Hudson, a Republican from North Carolina, mentions that he represents many members of the military from Fort Bragg and raises concerns about the national security threat of leaking information about military.

Scott Peters, a Democrat from California, asks whether it would make sense for Congress to define privacy in law.

Zuck: It’s an interesting question.

Peters notes that privacy isn’t a “bottom line issue” for shareholders. “Privacy doesn’t drive profits, and it may interfere with profits.” He asks whether it would help if there were real financial disincentives to violating privacy.

Zuck rejects the premise that privacy and profit aren’t necessarily opposed.

Peters: What do Europeans get right and wrong about privacy?

Zuck: GDPR in general is going to be a very positive step for the internet.

Zuck says that Facebook also offers many controls, and says the requirement for more make sense.

Peters: What about things they got wrong?

Zuck: I need to think about that more.

Markwayne Mullin, a Republican from Okalahoma, is giving Zuckerberg the chance to explain that Facebook has settings and controls that people can use.

Raul Ruiz, a Democrat from California, is talking about the limitations of the FTC, and suggesting some kind of entity that oversee data privacy, such as a “Digital Consumer Protection Agency”.

Zuck repeats his line that he’s not necessarily against regulation, which he’s probably said at least a dozen times over the past two days.

Zuckerberg corrects himself on browser history

Zuckerberg corrects the record on Facebook’s tracking of browser history.

He says that the company does temporarily store web logs, but then “converts” that information into “ad interests”, which can be found in the data download.

This is referring back to the question of why browser data wasn’t included when users download their data.

And we’re back!

Susan Brooks, a Republican from Indiana, is up first, and she wants to talk about the recruitment of young people to join terrorist groups on Facebook and other internet platforms.

Brooks: You’ve talked about relying on content being reported, but what if no one reports?

Zuck: 99% of Isis and Al Qaeda information is flagged by tools before it needs to be flagged.

Brooks says that terrorist content still gets out there wants more detail.

Zuck: This is a combination of tech and people.

He says the team focusing on terrorism has 200 people.

We’re taking a quick break! Be back in about 10 minutes.

Carndenas brings up legal threats to The Guardian prior to publication. Zuck says that it was a concern over a factual inaccuracy.

Cardenas: You only apologized after they published, eh?

Zuck: Yes.

Tony Cardenas, a Democrat from California, just mentioned that the CEO of Cambridge Analytica stepped down today. Does that solve the problem?

Zuck: No.

Cardenas: Did you buy data?

Zuck: We stopped.

Cardenas: But you did it to build your company.

Zuck: It was industry standard.

Cardenas: But you did it.

Zuck: Yes.

University of Cambridge responds to Zuckerberg

Earlier in the hearing, Zuckerberg made a surprising statement suggesting that Facebook was looking into “whether there’s something bad going on at Cambridge University overall that will require stronger action.”

A spokesman for Cambridge responds: “We would be surprised if Mr Zuckerberg was only now aware of research at the University of Cambridge looking at what an individual’s Facebook data says about them. Our researchers have been publishing such research since 2013 in major peer-reviewed scientific journals, and these studies have been reported widely in international media. These have included one study in 2015 led by Dr Aleksandr Spectre (Kogan) and co-authored by two Facebook employees.

“We wrote to Facebook on 21 March to ask it to provide evidence to support its allegations about Dr Kogan. We have yet to receive a response.”

Joe Kennedy, a Democrat from Massachusetts: Does Facebook include deleted data in what is available for advertisers to target?

Zuck: No.

Kennedy: Can advertisers get access to metadata, such as tracking on other websites?

Zuck: I don’t understand the question.

Kennedy: Do advertisers get access to information that the user doesn’t necessarily know is being collected? There’s information that is generated that people don’t realize they are generating.

Zuck: The targeting options are generally based on things that people choose to share. But Facebook also does its own work to decide who to show ads to, based on our metadata, but that’s different from letting advertisers use it.

Kennedy: The rub is that I don’t think this works with the idea that users “own” their data.

Larry Buschon, a Republican from Indiana, is now bringing up the concern about Facebook listening to people’s conversations. He mentions that he had a conversation with his mother about a deceased relative, and later that night, Facebook showed her a memorial video of the relative. He asks whether Facebook is contracting with someone else to listen in.

Zuck again says that Facebook is not listening to audio.

Buchshon says it’s pretty clear to him that someone is listening. He asks whether Facebook executives bring their phones into confidential meetings.

Zuck says they do, and says that often these surprising ad experiences are a coincidence or a result of other online activity.

Here’s a good explanation of how Facebook knows so much about you without necessarily listening to you from the Wall Street Journal.

Schrader is asking again about being tracked while logged out, and Zuck gives the same basic answer that it’s for “security”.

Schrader: Aren’t you complicit in the sale of data by third-parties?

Zuck: Well we prohibit that.

Schrader: But all I’ve heard so far is that you complain, not that there’s any enforcement.

Zuck: Yeah, we’re going to be more proactive now.

Kurt Schrader, a Democrat from Oregon, wants to make sure that Facebook’s audit team doesn’t destroy evidence if it finds still-existing versions of the Kogan/CA data.

Zuck says he doesn’t think they’ve deleted anything yet, and notes that the Facebook auditors stood down to let the UK ICO conduct its investigation first.

Long: Congress does nothing, or it overreacts. We’re getting ready to overreact.

Billy Long, a Republican from Missouri: “If we invited everyone that has read your terms of service, we could probably fit them at that table.”

Long also says that his constituents aren’t upset about the Cambridge Analytica.

Then he asks, What is FaceMash and does it still exist?

Zuckerberg: It was a prank website, I took it down.

He mentions there was a movie about this, but that the movie was of “unclear truth”. He also again invokes the “dorm room” origins of FaceMash, which in this case I guess is meant to make us understand that nothing that came out of Zuck’s dorm room is that important.

David Loebsack, a Democrat from Iowa, asks if it would be possible for Facebook to exist if it didn’t collect and sell data.

Zuck quibbles with “selling data” but basically says no, we wouldn’t exist if we weren’t collecting information that people share with us.

Bill Johnson, a Republican from Ohio: Often times technology folks spend all their time focusing on what they can do, instead of what they should do.

This is the Jurassic Park question. Here’s the pertinent scene.


Clarke: When Mr Kogan sold Facebook data, did he violate Facebook’s policies?

Zuck: Yes

Clarke: When the Obama app collected data, did they violate Facebook’s policies?

Zuck: No

Yvette Clarke, a Democrat from New York, starts by mentioning a new technology accountability caucus in Congress, then mentions the way that racism was exploited in the Russian election ads.

She asks whether the lack of diversity and “lack of culturally competent personal in your C-suite” contributed to Facebook’s inability to recognize this kind of content.

Zuck says that the issue wasn’t a lack of diversity, but that they were too slow to recognize the influence operation.

Gus Bilirakis, a Republican from Florida, returns to opioid advertisements.

Zuck says that FB will take down ads that are flagged for them. Talks about building AI tools that can do this automatically at some point in the future.

It’s worth noting that a) Facebook cannot solve the opioid crisis and b) artificial intelligence is not magic, is often not even that intelligent and will not cure all ills on Facebook.

Tonko: What liability should Facebook have? Do you bear the liability for the misuse of people’s data?

Zuck: We take responsibility.

Tonko: What about liability though?

Zuck: Non-sequitur about changes to platform API permissions made in 2015.

Paul Tonko, a Democrat from New York, wants to talk more about Facebook tracking users across the internet and why browser data isn’t in the data download.

Zuck again says that if it’s not in the data download, Facebook doesn’t have it.

Here’s Alex Hern on the back and forth over “shadow profiles”:

Zuckerberg implying that the sole use of these shadow profiles is as a security feature, and that's why you can't opt out. But I think that might be smart phrasing, not the actual case.

— you heard it here first: facebook is bad (@alexhern) April 11, 2018

Lujan’s line of questioning was important, and Zuckerberg was not candid. But the next questioner, Morgan Griffith, is giving Zuck a chance to talk about expanding broadband access to rural areas.

Lujan: How many data points does Facebook have on each user?

Zuck: Not sure.

Lujan: “You’re collecting data about people who are not even on Facebook... People who don’t even have an account have to sign up for an account to get their data.”

Ben Lujan, a Democrat from New Mexico, is telling Zuck that the feature that Facebook said last week that it was turning off because it was allowing “malicious actors” to scrape personal data was actually brought to Facebook’s attention in 2013, and again in 2015.

Kinzinger is now bringing up fake accounts that use his picture to “extort people for money”.

Zuck: Long term the solution is to build more AI tools that can recognize patterns.

Adam Kinzinger, a Republican from Illinois, asks what kind of data Facebook shares with the Russian government or intelligence agencies.

Zuckerberg: “In general we are not in the business of providing a lot of data to the Russian government.”

Facebook puts out a transparency report each year with details on government requests for information around the world.

Zuck notes that Facebook doesn’t store any data inside Russia – a point of contention with the Russian government which has threatened to block internet companies that don’t store data locally.

Welch: Do you believe consumers have a right to correct or delete personal data that companies have?

Zuck: That would be an interesting debate.

Peter Welch, the Democrat from Vermont: This was foreseeable and inevitable and we, Congress, did nothing about it.

David McKinley, a Republican from West Virginia, is bringing up online sales of opioids. “Opioids are still available on your site, without a prescription.” McKinley shows screenshots of postings offering opioids for sale.

Zuck: Let me just speak to this for a second.

McKinley: No. Your platform is still being used to circumvent the law and allow people to buy highly addictive drugs without a prescription. Facebook is enabling illegal activity and in so doing you are hurting people.

Zuck: There are a number of ways that we need to do a better job of content review.

McKinley: You’re still allowing people to get this scourge that is ravaging this country. When are you going to take down these posts that are done with illegal digital pharmacies.

Zuck: When people report the post we will taken them down.

McKinley: What about those 20,000 people you’re hiring? Where is your accountability in this?

Zuck: We need to build better AI tools.

Jerry McErney, a Democrat from Stockton, is asking why browsing history is not included in the Facebook data download.

Zuck says Facebook doesn’t have browsing history, but he is carefully caging his response within the confines of “your content”. McErney says he wants to follow up on this.

If you want to learn more about the backstory to Representatie Castor’s line of questioning on the information Facebook gathers and uses to build a profile of you that, here’s a great report by Gizmodo’s Kasmir Hill, “How Facebook Figures Out Everyone You’ve Ever Met.”

John Sarbanes, a Democrat from Maryland: Is it true the Facebook offered dedicated embeds to both campaigns?

Zuck: We offer sales support.

Sarbanes: I reject your quibbling with my language. I want copies of the exact agreement and offers you made to both campaigns.

Sarbanes is speculating that Facebook embeds with the campaigns granted special approval rights to allow them to get approval for 90x more ads than Clinton did. Zuck says that didn’t happen. The Trump campaign did run many more types of advertisements, but that has generally been assumed to be down to a difference in campaign strategy.

Sarbanes: The question is are we the people going to regulate our political discourse or are you Mark Zuckerberg going to do it?

Zuckerberg admits to Brett Guthrie that most people don’t use their privacy controls. He says this is probably because they like getting “relevant” ads. That’s one hypothesis, but we’ve also talked extensively over the past two days about how confusing it is to try to navigate these labyrinthine controls.

Zuckerberg’s unwillingness to admit exactly what Facebook does to collect data gives the lie to his stated belief in the business model’s “alignment” with Facebook’s “social mission”.

If you’re so ashamed of what you’re doing, maybe you should stop?

Castor: “You are collecting personal information on people who don’t even have accounts, yes or no.”

Zuck: mumbles vaguely

Castor: Yes you are. You’re collecting data on what people are purchasing, yes?

Zuck: If they share it with us.

Castor: You’ve patented applications that can do this.

Zuck: mumbles a little

Castor: You’re collecting medical data, yes?

Zuck: Yes some.

Castor: What about collecting data on users physical location?

Zuck: Let’s talk about “control”.

Castor: Nope.

Zuck: People choose to share data.

Castor: Yeah, maybe that’s the primary way you get data, but not the only way. You buy data from data brokers right?

Zuck: We announced two weeks ago we would end that relationship.

Castor: I don’t believe the controls you have are a substitute for fundamental privacy protections. [drops mic]


Kathy Castor: “I think a devil’s bargain has been struck. Americans do not like to be manipulated. We don’t like to be spied on.... Facebook has now evolved to a place where you are tracking everyone.”

Zuck says that Facebook was trying to balance “two equities” - data portability and data protection. “We didn’t get that right.”

Lance: Do you believe that the Kogan app harvest violated the FTC consent decree?

Zuck: No, but we take a “broader view”.

Zuck says again that Kogan selling the data was a violation of his agreement with Facebook.

Lance says he believes it was a violation of the consent decree.

Leonard Lance, a Republican from New Jersey, is starting us up again by talking about taking deep “offense” with censorship of conservative speech, though he says that he would care about censoring liberal speech too.

Zuck says that Facebook makes censorship mistakes against liberals too!

Facebook is an equal opportunity mistake-maker.

And we’re back! Looks like Zuckerberg took his notes with him when he left the room this time. Fool me once.

Here’s my colleague Alex Hern with a brief tweet storm on how disingenuous Zuckerberg’s statements about “owning” your data are.

Simple demonstration: go on Facebook, and delete every post you've ever made, every picture you've ever posted, and every like you've ever liked. Take "full control" of your data, and remove it from Facebook. Are the ads still targeted? That's the data you lost control of.

— you heard it here first: facebook is bad (@alexhern) April 11, 2018

Zuck: We use the data that people put into the system in order to make them more relevant.

Whenever the going gets tough, Zuck tends to fall back on a couple of lines: You have complete control over your data; You don’t have to share anything with us. He is certainly having a rougher go of it today, as the interlocutors have less patience for his talking points and diversions.

We’re taking a five minute recess.

Doris Matsui: To me if you own something, you ought to be able to control how it is used.

Matsui talks about the difference between content users share and assumptions algorithms have made about those users – the “virtual self” that Blackburn described.

Zuck: I believe people own their content.

If I take a photo of you and share it with you, who owns the data? Zuck says he would take the position that it’s “our” photo.

Matsui says: Ok but what about data brokers?

Matsui: “We might own our own data, but once it’s used in advertising we lose over control of it, isn’t that right?”

Zuck: I disagree because we don’t sell the data.

Gregg Harper, Republican from Mississippi: If Cambridge Analytica had developed the app themselves, they would have had access to the same data, correct?

Zuck: Yes.

Harper asks about the Obama 2012 app.

Zuck says that the big difference is that people signed into Kogan’s app and then he turned around and sold the data in violation of Facebook’s terms.

It is certainly different for people to log into an explicitly political app (Obama 2012) and had that data used for politics, than it is for people to log into a fun psychology app and have that used for politics. But important questions have been raised about whether Zuckerberg’s line that what Kogan did was actually a violation of Facebook’s terms.

Butterfield: I was looking at your website, and your leadership team does not reflect America. He notes the five top people are all white.

Zuck: We have a broader leadership than just five people

Butterfield: Not on your website!

Butterfield asks for a committment to add an African American person to the top leadership tier? Zuck demurs.

Butterfield asks for data on retention of black employees. Zuck says he’ll talk to his team.

GK Butterfield, Democrat from North Carolina, brings up Facebook and tech’s lack of diversity, noting that he talks about this with Sheryl Sandberg.

“Will you commit to personally convene a meeting of CEOs in your sectors to develop a strategy to increase racial diversity in your industry?”

Zuck: That’s a good idea we’ll follow up on.

Cathy McMorris Rodgers is talking about censorship of religious and conservative publishers on Facebook. She quotes Facebook’s head of news partnerships.

Zuckerberg says that he doesn’t know who that person is.

It’s Campbell Brown.

Schakowsky wants to know whether Facebook’s adoption of GDPR will include extending the “rights” that European gets in addition to the “controls”. Zuck doesn’t really answer.

She ends with an unanswered question: “Who is going to protect us from Facebook?”

Zuckerberg says Kogan sold data to "a handful" of other companies

Schakowsky: How many other companies did Kogan sell the data to? And what are their names?

Zuck says he’ll follow up, and that there are “a handful” of companies who got it. Yesterday he named Eunoia as one of them.


Jan Schakowsky, a Democrat from Illinois, is reading a list of Zuckerberg’s many, many apologies, dating back to his pre-Facebook Harvard days.

Schakowsky: “This is proof to me that self-regulation simply does not work.”

Robert Latta, Republican from Ohio: Why didn’t the audits that you had to submit under the FTC consent decree find these problems?

Zuck: I think the broader question here is that we’ve had the FTC consent decree but we have a broader view of our responsibility.

Zuck says he doesn’t believe Kogan’s actions violated the consent decree, but was a breach of trust.

Zuckerberg’s answers on questions about the FTC consent decree are basically incoherent.

Doyle is now reading parts of the consent decree, including details which Zuckerberg says he’s not fully familiar with.

Doyle is excoriating on Zuckerberg’s flouting his own standards and users’ trust. Zuck pulls out his line for an “attack”: “I respectfully disagree.”

Mike Doyle, a Democrat from Pennsylvania, is the first person I’ve heard so far to mention The Guardian’s reporting! His point is: Do you normally learn about abuses from the press? It seems as though you turned a blind eye.

Zuck: I disagree with that assessment...

Doyle: It seems like you were more concerned with attracting developers than you were with protecting users.

Steve Scalise, the majority whip: You said that there is data mining when a user is logged off for security purposes. Is that data also used for the business model?

Zuck: I believe the ad data is separate from the security data, but he’s not sure.

Scalise: Are the people who made a mistake with Diamond and Silk going to be punished?

Zuck says he’ll follow up.

Now Scalise is mentioning a study that says news feed has conservative bias. Who designs the algorithm, he asks? Was there a directive to put in a bias?

Zuck: There is no directive in any of the changes we make to have bias.

Scalise says: Please look and see if there is actually bias though.

Diana DeGette, a Democrat from Colorado, is talking through the fact that Facebook is hugely valuable, and that its business hasn’t really suffered from the current controversy. Now she’s going through various class-action lawsuits against Facebook that didn’t result in users getting any money.

She is pushing him hard on not knowing the details of these issues, such as whether or not there was any financial penalty for the FTC consent decree (there wasn’t).

Her point, which she’s getting to now, is that there’s no financial hazard for Facebook to continue in bad behavior.

Blackburn: Do you subjectively change your algorithms to prioritize or censor speech?

Zuck: We don’t think of it as censorship. We remove terrorist content.

Blackburn: Diamond and Silk are not terrorists.

The hearing today is quite a bit punchier than yesterday’s. These representatives have much less patience for Zuck’s talking points and stalling.

Blackburn calls Zuckerberg out for filibustering her questions.

Marsha Blackburn: Your cozy community is starting to look like the Truman Show... Who owns the “virtual you”? Who owns your presence online? Is it you or is them?

Zuck: I believer everyone owns their own content online.

Gene Green: If I download my Facebook data, is there other stuff that you guys still have, like browser activity or inferences Facebook draws about people?

Zuckerberg: I believe that all of your information is in that file.

Gene Green, a Democract from Texas, is asking about GDPR.

Zuck says everyone will have the same privacy controls.

Burgess asks whether Facebook is sharing its internal audits with the FTC. Zuck appears to short out for a moment, then says he doesn’t totally understand the question.

Asked about third-party app permissions, Zuck again brings up in-line controls to limit the audience of an individual post. This is not only a non-sequitur, it is (as I’ve been screaming inside my head all morning) a willful obfuscation of what actually happens on Facebook.

Michael Burgess, a Republican from Texas: Would the average consumer be able to evaluate the terms and conditions they see on third-party app permissions?

Zuck: “I think if someone wanted to know they could.”

Engel: Do you adjust your algorithms to prevent people interested in violence from other likeminded people?

Zuck says yes, that’s something we need to do, which doesn’t necessarily sound like it’s something that they already do.

Here’s an article I wrote last year about how extremists come together through Facebook groups.

Zuckerberg suggests "something bad" might be going on at Cambridge University

Eliot Engel: You said Facebook was deceived by Kogan. Does Facebook plan to sue Kogan, Cambridge University, or Cambridge Analytica?

Zuckerberg: It’s something we’re looking into. We already took action by banning him from the platform.

Zuck says they need to understand whether “something bad” is going on at Cambridge University, since they apparently just learned about the Psychometrics Center, whose work was the inspiration for Kogan’s data scrape.


Shimkus is asking for clarification on tracking when users are logged off, and tracking across devices.

Zuck: We track certain information for security reasons and for ads reasons.

“Just because someone chose to make something public doesn’t mean that it’s good for someone to aggregate it.”

Zuck is conceding that the ad network is collecting information across other websites, which he notes that Google does as well.

John Shimkus: Who is conducting the audit?

Zuck: We’re starting with an internal investigation, will move on to third-party auditors later.

Eshoo is trying unsuccessfully to get Zuckerberg to deviate from his memorized talking points about the Kogan/CA breach. He simply will not answer her questions as they are posed.

Zuckerberg says his personal data was included in the Cambridge Analytica breach

Anna Eshoo, a Democrat from California, is asking a series of questions from her constituents.

Do you think you have a moral obligation to run a platform that protects democracy?

Zuck: Yes.

Was your personal data included in the CA breach?

Zuck: Yes.

Are you willing to change your business model in the interest of protecting individual privacy?

Zuck: I’m not sure what that means.


Upton is now bringing up an advertisement that a local Michigan politician tried to run on Facebook but that was rejected. The ad language sounds like boilerplate Republican positions. Zuck says he doesn’t know what happened there.

Fred Upton, a Republican from Michigan, is asking whether it’s possible to craft regulation that won’t stifle startups.

Zuck: I think it is inevitable that there will need to be some regulation, but you have to be careful about what it is.

Bobby Rush: Why is the onus on the user to opt in to privacy?

Zuckerberg is not going to move off his line that users can limit the audience of their posts.

Rush moves on to Facebook’s reported violations of civil rights law forbidding discriminatory advertising.

Bobby Rush: You are truncating the basic rights of the American promise of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness by the wholesale invasion and manipulation of their right to privacy. What is the difference between Facebook’s methodology and the methodology of American political pariah J Edgar Hoover?

Zuck: On Facebook, you have control over your information. The content you share, you put there. Says that no other surveillance operation gives you the ability to opt out.

Barton: Is there any reason why we should have rules of no data sharing for Facebook users under 18?

Zuck: We have a number of measures in place to protect minors... The reality that we see is that teens often do want to share their opinions publicly.

Zuck is again talking about the ability to limit the audience of shared content, not about the targeted advertising to children based on data Facebook gathers about them.

Joe Barton is asking why Diamond and Silk were censored on Facebook. Zuck says it was a mistake.

Here’s a Washington Post article about the conservative sisters.

Will Facebook change the default user settings to minimize data collection?

Pallone asks if Facebook limits the type of data it collects and uses.

Zuck says they do, but Pallone says he doesn’t see how.

Pallone: Is Facebook changing user default settings?

Zuck says yes, that they’ve changed the way that developers can get access to data, which is not the question.

Pallone: Will you change all user default settings to minimize to the greatest extent possible all the user data? Yes or no.

Zuck says that he won’t give a one word answer.


Scratch that: Zuckerberg is explaining that Facebook doesn’t sell data despite Walden’s statement that he understands that fact.

Walden is foreclosing Zuck’s canned response that Facebook doesn’t technically sell data, arguing that it does monetize it, and stating that data might be the only thing of true value that Facebook does have.

Walden: You can send money on Facebook. Are you a financial company?

Zuck: Nah.

Walden notes that Facebook is increasingly broadcasting original television content: Is Facebook a media company?

Zuckerberg: I consider us to be a technology company.


Zuckerberg is still saying that Kogan and Cambridge Analytica misused or improperly obtained data, despite Senator Blumenthal’s release of the terms of service yesterday, which appeared to show that he did have permission to share, sell, and transfer the data.

Zuckerberg is now making his opening statement. If this sounds familiar, it’s because he’s reading the same words he read yesterday, in his opening statement at the Senate hearing.

Pallone: “We need comprehensive privacy and data protection legislation.”

Frank Pallone, the ranking Democrat, is now making his opening statement, noting that Facebook is ubiquitous, and most of us are locked in.

“For all the good it brings, Facebook can be a weapon for groups like Russia and Cambridge Analytica,” he says.

Walden is already showing a stronger grasp of the distinction between data users consciously share and data Facebook collects than many of the senators had yesterday.

Zuckerberg is seated and we’re getting started.

Commitee chairman Greg Walden is kicking us off with an opening statement. “While Facebook has surely grown, I worry it has not matured.”

What to make of Zuckerberg's notes being photographed and shared?

While we are waiting for today’s hearing to get underway, let’s look back at a fun little parable of privacy from yesterday: the tale of Mark Zuckerberg’s notes.

During one of the short breaks during yesterday’s hearing, Zuck left a copy of his typed notes open on the table. When he left the room, reporters pounced. An AP photo of the talking points went viral, as reporters and Facebook critics pored over the text for the merest shred of red meat.

Photo of Zuck's notes, by AP's @andyharnik

— Stefan Becket (@becket) April 10, 2018

Some of the tidbits were legitimately interesting; others merely titillating. We now know how Zuck was prepared to respond to attacks (“Respectfully, I reject that”), that he was prepared to respond to calls for his resignation, and that he needed a bold-faced reminder that Facebook is not already compliant with forthcoming European data privacy standards.

But what should we call what happened with the notes? Was this a breach of Zuckerberg’s privacy? Or did he, by leaving the information unprotected in a public space, “share” that information with us? And is there any meaningful recourse after information that was intended for a limited audience is taken out of context and shared with an entirely different audience?


Welcome to our second day of live coverage of Mark Zuckerberg testifying before the US Congress.

Yesterday, Zuckerberg was questioned by 44 senators from two committees in a five-hour joint session.

This morning, he returns to Capitol Hill to face the House committee on energy and commerce, starting at 10am EDT.

The Senate hearing may have been a marathon, but Zuckerberg was rarely forced to break a sweat. Senators trying to press him on Facebook’s unprecedented collection and use of personal data were tripped up by semantics and technical details, providing the 33-year-old executive with the opportunity to deflate and deflect many lines of questioning.

Today, we’ll be watching to see if any representatives are able to break Zuckerberg’s talking points filibuster on the data that fuels Facebook’s advertising machine – or wring out new details about the company’s relationships with the Cambridge academic Aleksandr Kogan, his company GSR, and the political consultancy Cambridge Analytica.

For our full report on yesterday’s proceedings, check out Washington DC bureau chief David Smith’s write up here. Or if you’d like to read my thoughts on Facebook’s greatest achievement in artificial intelligence, you can find my analysis.

We’ll have a live coverage here as today’s session unfolds.


Julia Carrie Wong in San Francisco

The GuardianTramp

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