Despite the fact he is a billionaire who owns the apparatus which basically runs the world at this point, occasionally it sucks to be Mark Zuckerberg. Today, as he faces Congress over Facebook‘s culpability in the Cambridge Analytica scandal, is absolutely one of those days.
Though he’s spent the last few weeks repeatedly apologising, he opened his remarks to the Senate Commerce and Judiciary committees by saying sorry again.
“We didn’t take a broad enough view of our responsibility, and that was a big mistake,” he said.
“It was my mistake, and I’m sorry. I started Facebook, I run it, and I’m responsible for what happens here.”
It’s scheduled to be a two-day appearance in Congress, and thus far it has been fairly broad-ranging, with Senators grilling Zuck on everything from Cambridge Analytica to alleged Russian interference in the US election and hate speech.
The line that Zuckerberg keeps coming back to is that Facebook is currently undergoing a radical shift in its company philosophy in an attempt to address the serious criticism it has faced recently on a variety of fronts.
That being said, the questions thus far haven’t been particularly challenging. Zuck is not getting grilled hard by these Senators on the specifics, which is probably because they’re all extremely old and don’t really have a rich understanding of the platform they’re currently investigating.
There was this reasonably extraordinary moment in which Senator Dick Durbin asked Zuckerberg to reveal the name of the hotel he stayed in last night, and Mark seemed completely affronted by the question.
Watch as Sen. Durbin makes a point about the right to privacy when Zuckerberg declines to reveal his Washington D.C. hotel and who he messaged last night. https://t.co/9rPFRyvzPn pic.twitter.com/198cwwiXjj
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) April 10, 2018
(Of course, this isn’t precisely the same thing as what Facebook does, but it does show that even Zuckerberg has a reflexive need to defend his privacy, as we all do.)
Zuckerberg has deflected a few questions from the committee about the assumption that Facebook ‘sells data’ to advertisers, clarifying that they do not directly do this:
What we allow is for advertisers to tell us who they want to reach and we do the placement […] without that data ever changing hands. Thats a very fundamental part about how our model works and something that is often misunderstood.
Of course, that’s probably a question of semantics given what has been exposed by the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
We’ll keep you updated on where Zuck’s testimony goes. Until then, please enjoy this video, which is very good:
anyway, here's zuckerberg's arrival set to the radiohead cover from "the social network" trailer pic.twitter.com/wsuA8GaVFY
— David Mack (@davidmackau) April 10, 2018