Zuckerberg grilled by Congress… and he apologized a lot
During the hearing on Wednesday that went on for several hours, Zuckerberg was apologetic from the opening, in what has been described as the latest leg in the embattled CEO’s “I’m sorry” tour.
Congress gets a visit from planet Zuckerberg. “I shall prevent any further election meddling by destroying the Earth with my Illudium Q-36 Explosive Space Modulator App! The sudden drop in Facebook’s stock has made me angry! VERY ANGRY INDEED!!!” pic.twitter.com/qwCpJoUqnS— Jim Carrey (@JimCarrey) April 11, 2018
Saying “sorry” is nothing new for the 33-year-old billionaire, and Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Illinois) used her time to read out a list of past apologies from Zuckerberg, mostly for privacy violations. After the exhaustive list, she concluded that “self-regulation simply does not work.”
Zuckerberg was evasive when asked what Facebook does to safeguard user data, and he tried to conflate users controlling sharing their posts and Facebook giving those posts to advertisers. Time and time again, he fell back on the reliable “we don’t sell your data” line.
If there's one clear takeaway it's that Facebook sells my data— Greg Bensinger (@GregBensinger) April 10, 2018
Zuckerberg keeps saying that you get to choose who you “share” any information with at the top of the app.— Robinson Meyer (@yayitsrob) April 11, 2018
But *every time* you post, you do share that info with FB—who then rent it to advertisers. These are 2 different uses of “share” and MZ is skating on the difference.
Likewise, when asked about whether Facebook would be willing to change its business model to better protect user privacy, Zuckerberg said: “I’m not sure what that means.”
Congresswomen: Was your personal data sold to malicious third parties?— alex medina (@mrmedina) April 11, 2018
Congresswomen: Are you willing to change your business model in the interest of protecting individual privacy?
Zuckerberg: Don't know what that means.
If a takeaway from Tuesday’s hearing was that the Senate doesn’t have a basic factual understanding of Facebook, a takeaway from Wednesday’s is that Mark Zuckerberg doesn’t really, either.— Robinson Meyer (@yayitsrob) April 11, 2018
Questions about censorship dogged Zuckerberg throughout the hearing. Several committee members pressed him on Facebook’s censorship of conservative content, which was exemplified by the company flagging pro-Trump conservative vloggers Diamond and Silk for “inappropriate content.”
Zuckerberg claimed his platform is made for “all kinds of ideas” and denied bias against conservatives.
Very interesting how Mark Zuckerberg claims (likely lying) he doesn’t know the political affiliation of his employees...— Jack Murphy (@RealJack) April 11, 2018
Meanwhile, Facebook’s algorithms precisely pin point the political affiliation of all its users.
Let that sink in....
Zuckerberg was again asked whether Facebook could listen in to users’ conversations through their phone, an accusation he denied. Targeted ads based on conversations are just a “coincidence.”
The "Is Facebook listening to my conversations?" question comes up again, this time from Rep. Larry Buschon. Zuckerberg says no, FB does not listen to verbal communication; chalks up eerily specific ads to "coincidence"— Lauren (@LaurenGoode) April 11, 2018
.@RepLarryBucshon brings up the claim about Facebook "listening" to audio content. Zuckerberg denied it was happening yesterday in the Senate, and denied it again today. Cambridge Analytica whistleblower @chrisinsilico said it was possible: https://t.co/f8r4BO8i2n— AJ Vicens (@AJVicens) April 11, 2018
Throughout both rounds on the hearing in Congress, Zuckerberg vowed that a sophisticated AI algorithm would help his company better fight “hate speech” and identify malicious actors, raising the question of what exactly constitutes “hate speech” and who will train the AI to identify the “right” kind of speech to block
Zuckerberg testified he's 'optimistic' that in 5-10 years, Facebook will have AI tools to automatically censor 'hate speech'. But he couldn't define 'hate speech', beyond whatever makes some people feel 'unsafe'. The problem of selective enforcement is horrifying. pic.twitter.com/i0Nc3RqgAV— Geoffrey Miller (@primalpoly) April 10, 2018
So remember, when Zuckerberg says he wants to police speech on his platform of 2 billion users with an AI, he is trying to make you think it will be fair because it is machine, a program. But it won't be, at all. It will be used to propagate one view and one view only: Facebook's— Mark Kern (@Grummz) April 11, 2018
The questions on Wednesday were more pointed than yesterday, with Zuckerberg visibly uncomfortable at times. In an exchange with Rep. Kathy Castor (D-Florida), Zuckerberg mumbled and dodged. As Rep. David McKinley (R-West Virginia) grilled him over Facebook’s complicity in allowing illegal pharmacies to use the platform to sell opioids, Zuckerberg squirmed.
I love it, because Zuck can't give the real answer which is "we already know everything about you, EVERYTHING, you puny humans are so dim and predictable that we can target these adverts to you anyway"— you heard it here first: facebook is bad (@alexhern) April 11, 2018
Round 1 may have been a draw, but Zuckerberg is getting fried right now.— Kyle Kashuv (@KyleKashuv) April 11, 2018
The questioning might have been sharper than at Tuesday’s Senate hearing, but for many Twitter users, the session looked like a teenage boy helping his grandparents sent up a Facebook page.
The twist is Zuckerberg was already found guilty and his punishment is listening to 60-year-olds in Congress giving him their hot facebook takes for hours & hours— Mike Rosenthal (@VectorBelly) April 11, 2018