Three weeks ago, news broke that Cambridge Analytica, a data firm with ties to Donald Trump’s deeply flawed 2016 presidential campaign, reportedly accessed the information of up to 87 million Facebook users without their knowledge. This revelation was made by Christopher Wylie a former employee of the data firm who according to The New York Times disclosed that the hack was carried out in intricate detail.
As a result of this privacy breach and unauthorized access to users data, Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO was summoned by the US Congress on Tuesday, 10th April.
During the five-hour long hearing, the 33-year-old billionaire appeared before forty-four US Senators and was made to provide answers to the following: what has gone wrong under his nose, and what he and his employees plan to do to make Facebook a safe space for users.
Here’s a synopsis of what went down during the hearing
Trump’s campaign was directly supported by Facebook
When asked whether Facebook employees worked with Cambridge Analytica, which supported Trump, during the 2016 presidential campaign, Zuckerberg said he didn’t know—but they did “help out” the campaign in some way.
“I know we did help out the Trump campaign overall in sales support in the same way that we help with all other campaigns,” he said.
Mark Zuckerberg Apologized
In a prepared statement that he read before being questioned, Zuckerberg addressed Facebook’s shortcomings.
“It’s clear now that we didn’t do enough to prevent these tools from being used as harm,” he said. “That goes for fake news, for interference in elections. 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.”
“We didn’t take a broad enough view of our responsibility and that was a big mistake,” Mark Zuckerberg says in his opening statement on Capitol Hill. “And it was my mistake and I’m sorry.” https://t.co/CbFO899XlU pic.twitter.com/WI2Hl3AgAr
— CBS News (@CBSNews) April 10, 2018
Facebook will remain a free service
When asked whether Facebook is considering forcing users to pay to block unwanted advertisements, Zuckerberg said no.
“To be clear, we don’t offer an option today for people to pay not to show ads,” Zuckerberg said. “We think offering an ad-supported service is most aligned with our mission of trying to connect everyone in the world because we want to offer a free service that everyone can afford.”
Zuckerberg will face a second grilling today, 11th April from the US House energy and commerce committee.