Facebook's Zuckerberg survives 10 hours of questioning by Congress

Darnell Taylor
April 17, 2018

"This kind of data collection is fundamental to how the internet works", Facebook's statement reads.

In this latest round of revelations, last Wednesday Zuckerberg told the U.S. Representative, Ben Luján, that Facebook gathers information on those who "have not signed up for Facebook". In the United States, social networks are considered public spaces; information shared there is covered under the "third-party doctrine", meaning users can not reasonably expect privacy regarding the data their service providers collect about them. The report says Kogan paid about 270,000 participants to take the quiz, and due to Facebook's loose restrictions, the app also scraped data from the participants' friends - allegedly affecting a total of 87 million Facebook users.

Facebook sources said last week CEO Mark Zuckerberg could testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on April 10.

For his part, Zuckerberg said the trip would help him "personally hear" more voices in America, and would "help me lead the work at Facebook and the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative so we can make a positive impact as the world enters an important new period".

"Because right now, we are only a couple of years past when Cambridge Analytica created those models, the profiles and models they have are likely useful for the next, in my rough estimation and experience, three to five years", he said. Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak recently said that he'd rather pay for Facebook than have his personal information exploited for advertising.

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Kogan allegedly passed the information unwittingly submitted by Facebook users who downloaded the app to Cambridge Analytica. For example, if Facebook user A uploads the address and phone number of person B who may or may not be on Facebook, the site recognizes this input as belonging to A, not B. "Facebook is not only a social media giant, but also an worldwide business". The GDPR prohibits the collection and/or use of any personal identifying data (including IP addresses) unless the user consents, and even then, the use is limited to the goal for which the data is collected in the first place.

It also protects the right of citizens to be forgotten and allows individuals to request a copy of the personal information any company keeps on them, find out what data is being processed, and ask for explanation of how it is being used.

Elsewhere, a prominent Democratic digital ad consultant notes that Facebook hasn't reached out directly to communicate any of the changes it's making - whether by phone, email or Facebook - despite the fact he spent more than $1 million on Facebook ads previous year.

During his testimony, Zuckerberg responded to a question asked by United States representative that his company tracks the data of non-Facebook users for security purposes. An ad-free Facebook. Facebook itself famously ran a test to see whether they could influence Facebook users. Any data you post online - regardless of privacy settings - or any data collected by third parties with whom you have an agreed-upon business relationship, is not private, yet many willingly stream data and images to their "network".

At a minimum, "Facebook is going to have to think about ways to structure their technology to give that proper notice", said Woodrow Hartzog, a Northeastern University professor of law and computer science.

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