It has always been a nightmare possibility for anybody who takes to the internet: the loss of privacy for their personal data. One of the more prominent examples of privacy breaches online occurred in 2014, when British political consultation firm Cambridge Analytica put a survey on Facebook that unwittingly breached the personal info of no less than 87 million users of the iconic social network. Said information was reportedly used by several parties to influence election results. This week, FB founder Mark Zuckerberg was called to provide testimony on the leak to Congress. What happened then was rather interesting itself.
As The Verge tells us, on Tuesday April 10 Mark Zuckerberg appeared before a US Congressional hearing with the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. It was expected that he would offer insights on how the Cambridge Analytica leak on Facebook came about, though some of the legislators present might have been keen to put the FB CEO on a spit regarding the incident. No dice there; Zuckerberg made a dignified apology for the scandal wrought with Analytica and made assurances that the company is taking serious stock over the policy gaps that allowed this whole thing to happen.
“We didn’t take a broad enough view of our responsibility and that was a big mistake,” the 33-year-old Facebook head said in his statement during the hearing, even taking responsibility for the leaked user data and the alleged instances it has been misused since 2014. Over a five-hour Q&A with 44 Senators present, Zuckerberg answered questions (limited to 5 minutes per Senator) about how his social media network collects data, their position on internet company regulation, and more. When Sen. John Thune brought up trust issues with FB following the data leakage, Zuckerberg owned up to mistakes and promised reforms.
This makes for some interesting developments. Following the public reveal about the Cambridge Analytica leakage just last month, the turn of public perception against Facebook’s security of its users led to the company losing market value in tens of billions of dollars. Following the testimony of Mark Zuckerberg before Congress – the first day in two – FB stock seemed to make a rebound, with Tuesday’s stock finishing at a 4.5% rise. The effectiveness of his responses to various inquiries appears to stem from what was noticed as ignorance on the part of most Senators on how the Facebook platform actually works.
The general gist of the questioning was perhaps to make plain any involvement – or lack of – by the leaked FB user data to influence the outcome of not only the 2016 US elections, but that of several other countries around the world. Zuckerberg is expected to testify again on Wednesday.
Photo courtesy of cnbc.com