Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg told lawmakers Wednesday that his own personal data was included in that of 87 million or so Facebook users that was improperly shared with political consultancy Cambridge Analytica.
But he pushed back on suggestions by members of the U.S. Congress that users do not have enough control of their data on Facebook in the wake of the privacy scandal at the world’s largest social media network.
“Every time that someone chooses to share something on Facebook … there is a control. Right there. Not buried in the settings somewhere but right there,” the 33-year-old internet magnate told the U.S. House of Representatives energy and commerce committee.
The hearing was Zuckerberg’s second in two days. On Tuesday, he took questions for nearly five hours in a U.S.
Senate hearing without making any further promises to support new legislation or change how the social network does business, foiling attempts by senators to pin him down.
Investors were impressed with his initial performance. Shares in Facebook posted their biggest daily gain in nearly two years on Tuesday, closing up 4.5 percent. They were little changed in late-morning trading on Wednesday.
Facebook has been consumed by turmoil for nearly a month, since it came to light that millions of users’ personal information was wrongly harvested from the website by Cambridge Analytica, a political consultancy that has counted U.S. President Donald Trump’s election campaign among its clients.
Zuckerberg, began his first day of testimony by saying his company was created as a tool for good and he takes responsibility for the company’s mistakes. Among other things, he promised a review of all the developers who work with Facebook. He said any developer found to be misusing data would be banned.
“But it’s clear now that we didn’t do enough to prevent these tools for being used for harm, as well. And that goes for fake news, for foreign interference in elections, and hate speech, as well as developers and data privacy.
‘It was a big mistake’
“We didn’t take a broad enough view of our responsibilities and it was a big mistake. It was my mistake and I’m sorry,” Zuckerberg said on Tuesday. “I started Facebook, I run it, and I’m responsible for what happens here.”
However, he rejected the suggestion that his company was “wilfully blind,” and said he has made major changes to the service to seek out fake accounts and better protect users’ privacy.
During Tuesday’s questioning, Zuckerberg also disclosed his company was “working with” special counsel Robert Mueller in the federal probe of Russian election interference.
Separately, the company began alerting some of its users that their data was gathered by Cambridge Analytica. A notification that appeared on Facebook for some users Tuesday told them that “one of your friends” used Facebook to log into a now-banned personality quiz app called “This Is Your Digital Life.” The notice says the app misused the information, including public profiles, page likes, birthdays and current cities, by sharing it with Cambridge Analytica.