Tag Archives: Zuckerberg

Zuckerberg faces more congressional grilling over data mining

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.

Senator Dick Durbin asks Facebook CEO if he’d share the name of the hotel where he’s staying1:45

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.

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CBC | World News

Facebook's Zuckerberg apologizes to U.S. Congress, vows to do better

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg told U.S. senators on Tuesday his company was not “wilfully blind” to abuse of its platform but said he has made major changes to the service to seek out fake accounts and to better protect users’ privacy.

Zuckerberg is facing 44 U.S. senators in a rare joint hearing of the Senate judiciary and commerce committees to talk about how his social media company protects user data and deals with election meddling, among other issues.

Zuckerberg said in his opening statement Tuesday that Facebook didn’t do enough to prevent its tools from being used for harm.

That, he says, goes for fake news, interference in foreign elections, hate speech and data privacy.

Zuckerberg apologized and said he is “responsible” for what happens on Facebook. He reiterated that the company is in the process of investigating “many apps” that had access to user data. 

Facebook revealed last month that political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica (CA), which had ties to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, may have harvested data of 87 million users without their knowledge.

On Monday, Facebook began sending messages users who may have had their data harvested, and created a help page where they could check.

He has apologized many times already, to users and the public, but it is the first time in his career that he has gone before Congress. He will testify again Wednesday, before a House panel. In the hearings, Zuckerberg will not only try to restore public trust in his company but also stave off federal regulation that some lawmakers have floated. 

Working with Mueller probe

Zuckerberg was asked about Russia’s use of U.S. social media during the 2016 elections — a subject of several congressional investigations and special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian interference.

In his opening statement, he addressed Russian election interference and acknowledged, as he has in the past, that the company was too slow to respond and that it’s “working hard to get better.” The company has said that as many as 146 million people may have received information from a Russian agency that’s accused of orchestrating much of the cyber meddling in the election.

Facebook began notifying users on Monday if their data had been swept up in the Cambridge Analytica scandal. (Facebook/Associated Press)

“We will continue working with the government to understand the full extent of Russian interference, and we will do our part not only to ensure the integrity of free and fair elections around the world, but also to give everyone a voice and to be a force for good in democracy everywhere,” Zuckerberg continued.

Zuckerberg added his company is “working with” the Mueller probe. 

Earlier this year Mueller charged 13 Russians and three Russian companies in a plot to interfere in the election through a social media propaganda effort that included online ad purchases using U.S. aliases and politicking on U.S. soil. Some of the Russian ads were on Facebook.

“One of my greatest regrets in running the company is that we were slow in identifying the Russian information operations in 2016,” Zuckerberg said. “We expected them to do a number of more traditional cyberattacks, which we did identify and notify the campaigns that they were trying to hack into them, but we were slow to identifying that type of new information operations.”He said Facebook has deployed new artificial intelligence tools and will continue to keep improving.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies before two U.S. Senate committees Tuesday amid concerns over privacy on the social media site. It was revealed that Facebook shared the information of 87 million users with data giant Cambridge Analytica.(Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

“You know, there are people in Russia whose job it is to try to exploit our systems and other Internet systems and other systems, as well. So this is an arms race,” he said. “I mean, they’re going to keep on getting better at this and we need to invest in keeping on getting better at this too.”

He plans to have more than 20,000 people by the end of the year working on “security and content review.”

Push for regulation

Zuckerberg met Monday with Florida Sen. Bill Nelson, the top Democrat on the Senate commerce panel. Nelson said afterward that Zuckerberg was “forthright and honest to the degree he could” be in the private, one-on-one meeting.

Nelson said he believes Zuckerberg is taking the congressional hearings seriously “because he knows there is going to be a hard look at regulation.”

Democrats like Nelson have argued that federal laws might be necessary to ensure user privacy. Republicans so far have shown little appetite for such regulation, but that could change if there are future privacy scandals or Democrats gain control of Congress in this November’s elections.

“I think he understands that regulation could be right around the corner,” Nelson said.

Separately, Zuckerberg said in a Facebook post on Monday that the company is establishing an independent election research commission that will look into the effects of social media on elections and democracy. He said the commission will work with foundations across the U.S. to set up a committee of academic experts who will come up with research topics and select independent researchers to study them.

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U.K. committee wants to hear Facebook's Zuckerberg on fake news, data supplied to Trump campaign

A British parliamentary committee on Tuesday summoned Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to answer questions on fake news as authorities step up efforts to determine whether data has been improperly used to influence elections.

The request comes amid reports that a U.K.-based company allegedly used Facebook data to help Donald Trump win the 2016 presidential election.

The company, Cambridge Analytica, has been accused of improperly using information from more than 50 million Facebook accounts. It denies wrongdoing.

The chairman of the U.K. parliamentary media committee, Damian Collins, said Tuesday that his group has repeatedly asked Facebook how it uses data and that Facebook officials “have been misleading to the committee.”

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Conservative MP Damian Collins to Zuckerberg: ‘I hope this representative will be you.’ (Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

“It is now time to hear from a senior Facebook executive with the sufficient authority to give an accurate account of this catastrophic failure of process,” Collins wrote in a note addressed directly to Zuckerberg.

“Given your commitment at the start of the New Year to ‘fixing’ Facebook, I hope that this representative will be you.”

Separately, Bloomberg News reported Tuesday that the U.S. Federal Trade Commission is investigating Facebook over its use of personal data.

Facebook shares lost 5.3 per cent in morning trading to a six-month low, extending Monday’s seven-per cent fall and wiping another $ 25 billion from its market capitalization, as investors fretted the world’s largest social media network could face massive fines and that its dented reputation could scare off users and advertisers.

The U.K. committee’s request to appear comes as Britain’s information commissioner said she was using all her legal powers to investigate the social media giant and Cambridge Analytica over the alleged misuse of data.

Commissioner Elizabeth Denham is pursuing a warrant to search Cambridge Analytica’s servers. She has also asked Facebook to cease in its efforts to pursue its own audit of Cambridge Analytica’s data use.

“Our advice to Facebook is to back away and let us go in and do our work,” she said.

Cambridge Analytica said it is committed to helping the U.K. investigation. However, Denham gave the firm a deadline to produce the information she requested — and it failed to meet it, her office said.

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Cambridge Analytica’s chief executive officer Alexander Nix was recorded by Britain’s Channel 4 saying the company could use entrapment, bribes or so-called ‘honeytraps’ to wage successful political campaigns for clients. He later said the company doesn’t condone such behaviour. (Patricia De Melo Moreira/AFP/Getty Images)

Denham said the prime allegation against Cambridge Analytica is that it acquired personal data in an unauthorized way, adding that the data provisions act requires platforms like Facebook to have strong safeguards against misuse of data.

Chris Wylie, who once worked for Cambridge Analytica, was quoted as saying the company used the data to build psychological profiles so voters could be targeted with ads and stories.

The firm found itself in further allegations of wrongdoing. Britain’s Channel 4 used an undercover investigation to record Cambridge Analytica’s chief executive, Alexander Nix, saying that the company could use unorthodox methods to wage successful political campaigns for clients.

He said the company could “send some girls” around to a rival candidate’s house, suggesting that girls from Ukraine are beautiful and effective in this role.

He also said the company could “offer a large amount of money” to a rival candidate and have the whole exchange recorded so it could be posted on the internet to show that the candidate was corrupt.

‘Simply not the case’

Nix says in a statement on the company’s website that he deeply regrets his role in the meeting and has apologized to staff.

“I am aware how this looks, but it is simply not the case,” he said. “I must emphatically state that Cambridge Analytica does not condone or engage in entrapment, bribes or so-called ‘honeytraps’, and nor does it use untrue material for any purposes.”

Nix told the BBC the Channel 4 sting was “intended to embarrass us.”

“We see this as a co-ordinated attack by the media that’s been going on for very, very many months in order to damage the company that had some involvement with the election of Donald Trump,” he said.

The data harvesting used by Cambridge Analytica has also triggered calls for further investigation from the European Union, as well as federal and state officials in the United States.

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Mark Zuckerberg Snuggles With Newborn Daughter August: 'Baby Cuddles Are the Best'

Zuckerberg announced that he and wife Priscilla had welcomed their second child last week, with a heartfelt letter. “August, we love you so much and we’re so excited to go on this adventure with you,” he wrote. “We wish you a life of joy, love and the same hope you give us.”

Zuckerberg and Priscilla are already parents to 1-year-old daughter Max. See more on the family in the video below. 

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