Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg was once again in the Congressional hot seat Wednesday — fielding hours of questions from the House of Representative’s Committee on Energy and Commerce on the ongoing Cambridge Analytica scandal.
Zuckerberg’s second day of testimony kicked off with statements from Rep. Greg Walden (R – OR) and Rep. Frank Pallone (D – NJ) addressing their concerns in light of Facebook’s latest data scandal. This hearing came with a four-minute limit for representatives, leaving some cutting off Zuckerberg mid-sentence as they tried to get answers within the allotted time frame.
Prior to Zuckerberg’s testimony — the first time he has testified in person before Congress — Facebook alerted 87 million users that their information was shared after data was misused and eventually found its way to research firm Cambridge Analytica.
Here are some of the biggest moments and highlights from the second day of Zuckerberg’s testimony.
Mark Zuckerberg reveals his data was among those affected by Cambridge Analytica
Rep. Anna Eshoo (D – Calif.) asked Zuckerberg in a back and forth of quick questions whether the Facebook CEO’s own data was among those whose data was sold to “malicious third parties” in the Cambridge Analytica incident.
Facebook said about 87 million users, largely in the United States, were affected.
Mark Zuckerberg says social media regulation is “inevitable”
Many Congress members have brought up the regulation of Facebook or other social media platforms. In response to a question from Rep. Frank Upton (R – Mich.), Zuckerberg said, “The Internet is growing in importance in people’s lives. It’s inevitable that there will be regulation. We need to be careful about the regulation we put in place.”
Rep. Rush says Facebook is no longer the company Zuckerberg started in his college dorm room
Zuckerberg brought up the Harvard dorm room origins of Facebook multiple times between his testimonies Tuesday and Wednesday. Rep. Bobby Rush (D – Ill.) pointed out that Facebook has grown a lot since its inception, and Zuckerberg needs to take accountability for the changing needs of the social media network.
“It’s grown so big, so fast,” Rush said. “It is no longer the company that you started in your dorm room. Instead it’s one of the great American success stories. That much influence comes with enormous social responsibility, on which you have failed to act and to protect and to consider.”
Rep. Butterfield asks Zuckerberg why his leadership team isn’t more diverse
While many Congress members focused on data and the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Rep. G. K. Butterfield (D – N.C.) focused on another pressing issue: the lack diversity in the tech field.
“Why are there no people of color on your leadership team?” Butterfield, a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, asked Zuckerberg.
Butterfield also showed a screenshot of Zuckerberg’s website with five people listed in leadership positions, none of whom are black. While Zuckerberg countered there are more people on Facebook’s leadership team, Butterfield noted that they’re not visible on the website.
Rep. Schakowsky lists Zuckerberg’s past apologies
Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D – Ill.) made a point not by asking a question or even by using her own words but rather using Zuckerberg’s words, specifically citing his list of apologies in regard to Facebook.
“You have a long history of growth and success, but you also have a long list of apologies. In 2003 it started at Harvard, ‘I apologize for any harm done as a result of my neglect.’ 2006, ‘We really messed this one up.’ 2007, ‘We simply did a bad job. I apologize for it.’ 2010, ‘Sometimes we move too fast.’ 2011, ‘I’m the first to admit that we’ve made a bunch of mistakes.’ 2017, this is in connection with the Russian manipulation of the election and the data that came from Facebook initially, ‘I ask for forgiveness. I will work to do better.’ So it seems to me that self-regulation, this is proof to me that self-regulation does not work,” Schakowsky said.
Rep. Luján grills Zuckerberg on its data collection of non-Facebook users
Rep. Ben Ray Luján (D – N.M.) noted that the page to request information be deleted for those without a Facebook profile asks them to fill out a form that recommends they go to their account settings after logging into their Facebook account.
There is an option that says “This doesn’t answer my question” with a form for those who do not have an account to fill out to complete the request, but it brought up a key privacy issue around those who have not opted into using Facebook.
Rep. Brooks inquires about terrorist communications on Facebook
Rep. Susan W. Brooks’s (R-Ind.) line of questioning dug into terrorist communication and recruitment on Facebook and other social media platforms.
“So when 9/11 happened, you didn’t exist,” she said at the hearing. “Facebook didn’t exist. But since the evolution after 9/11, we know that al-Shabab, al-Qaida, ISIS have used social media like we could not even imagine.”
“Terrorist content and propaganda has no place in our network and we’ve developed a number of tools so that 99% of the ISIS and al Queda content that we take down is identified by these systems and taken down before anyone in our system even flags it for us,” Zuckerberg responded.
Zuckerberg told the committee that they have a team of 200 people working on counterterrorism, with a capacity to work in 30 languages, along with AI tools that help flag the content.
Rep. Dingell points out all the things Zuckerberg doesn’t know
In the Energy and Commerce Committee Hearing Room, named after her husband former committee Chairman John D. Dingell, Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.) grilled Zuckerberg on what — as founder, chairman, and CEO of Facebook — he didn’t know.
“We’ve all been sitting here for more than four hours,” Dingell said during her four minutes of questioning. “Some things are striking during this conversation. As CEO you didn’t know some key facts. You didn’t know about major court cases regarding your privacy policies against your company. You didn’t know that the FTC doesn’t have fining authority, and that Facebook could not have received fines for the 2011 consent order. You didn’t know what a shadow profile was. You didn’t know how many apps you need to audit. You did not know how many other firms have been sold data by Dr. Kogen, other than Cambridge Analytica and Anoya (TK) Technologies, even though you were asked that question yesterday, and yes, we were all paying attention yesterday. You don’t even know all the kinds of information Facebook is collecting from its own users.”
Dingell then asked Zuckerberg about how many “like” buttons, “share” buttons, and blocks of pixel code were on non-Facebook webpages.
“Congresswoman, you are asking some specific stats that I don’t know off the top of my head, but we can follow-up and get back to you with all of these,” Zuckerberg replied.