Published: Thu, April 12, 2018
Money | By Armando Alvarado

Zuckerberg on sharing his personal info: 'Um, uh, no'

Zuckerberg on sharing his personal info: 'Um, uh, no'

Over two days Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified before Congress for hours, facing questions about how and why the data of an estimated 87 million users was shared with Cambridge Analytica, a British political consulting firm with reported ties to the Trump campaign.

He faced questions from 44 senators Tuesday, and is taking more from 55 members of Congress on Wednesday about everything from Facebook's data collection practices to how the site should be regulated in the US.

Capito sought information about Facebook privacy policies, but also took the opportunity to get Zuckerberg to commit to partnering with the FDA in an effort to cripple the sales of Fentanyl and other opioid drugs over social media and the Internet. They posted their biggest daily gain in almost two years on Tuesday as Zuckerberg managed to deter any specific discussion about new regulations that might hamper Facebook's ability to sell ads tailored to users' profiles.

Zuckerberg repeatedly stressed Facebook's growing focus on artificial intelligence during his testimony in front of the Senate Judiciary and Commerce Committees on Tuesday and the House Energy and Commerce Committees on Wednesday. The social media mogul spoke with pride about Facebook's ability to connect people for the common good but admitted the company has not been proactive in safeguarding its users from misuse of data or those sowing malign messages.

Still, he said, lawmakers need to be careful, noting that new rules or laws could hurt smaller businesses more than a behemoth like Facebook. The legislation would govern how internet companies gather data and notify consumers about the use of their data.

Mr Zuckerberg's admission that his own data made its way into the hands of the company which has been at the centre of weeks of controversy laid bare that even the company's technologically adept founder and chief executive was unable to protect his own information from parties seeking to exploit it.

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Zuckerberg said Facebook was built as "an idealistic and optimistic company" to help people connect but failed "to prevent these tools from being used for harm... that goes for fake news, for foreign interference in elections, and hate speech, as well as developers and data privacy".

Businesses can upload their data to Facebook to see if the ads they run on Facebook lead to sales in their stores; they do this via something Facebook calls offline conversions.

"I can't let you filibuster right now", Republican Marsha Blackburn said at one point.

Asked whether Facebook would implement outside Europe the specific GDPR standard that allows people to opt out of the use of their data for direct marketing, Zuckerberg resisted any commitment. "And I'm responsible for what happens here", Zuckerberg said. I don't know what information was leaked out and what it means to my Facebook. "It's collected for growth reasons as well", he said, to make sure people have the right friend suggestions when they sign into the service for the first time.

"I understand where that concern is coming from because Facebook and the tech industry are located in Silicon Valley, which is an extremely left-leaning place", Zuckerberg said.

Pallone said that if Democrats were in charge, "then we would push all the more". Zuckerberg responded in the affirmative.

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