If Facebook won't protect privacy, Congress must step in

10 April, 2018, 19:18 | Author: Cecelia Webb
  • If Facebook won't protect privacy, Congress must step in

Rep. Anna Eshoo, the Silicon Valley congresswoman, didn't mince words in an interview with this news organization last week, in which she said she hopes to tie in the privacy questions over Cambridge Analytica - the political data consulting firm that obtained personal information of up to 87 million Facebook users without their permission - with the lingering issues about how Facebook's platform was used by Russian trolls to try to influence the USA presidential election.

Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg placed the blame for privacy and security lapses at the world's largest social network squarely on himself as he girded Monday for appearances this week on Capitol Hill before angry lawmakers. And three long weeks ago, a whistleblower exposed how Cambridge Analytica, a consultant firm, use easily-gathered Facebook data of about 87 million people to influence voters with precision.

"It's clear now that we didn't do enough to prevent these tools from being used for harm ..." He also admitted to making a "huge mistake" in not taking a broad enough view of Facebook's responsibility in the world. The company banned Cambridge Analytica from its platform just last month, and it took Zuckerberg a few days to publicly address the issue.

The transcript says Facebook "detected and dealt with" several threats with ties to Russia, including activity by a group called APT28, which the US government says has links to Russian military intelligence. Zuckerberg also was meeting with lawmakers on Monday and plans to appear at a Senate committee hearing on Tuesday. They require companies to get informed consent to collect data, and for each type of use for the information.

To ease the way, Zuckerberg on Monday met some lawmakers privately, listening to their concerns before they will have a chance to interrogate him in public.

When is Mark Zuckerberg testifying before Congress?

Others are weighing in with what they hope the Congressional committees will ask the Facebook CEO this week.

Mr. Zuckerberg acknowledges he was slow to spot Russian "bots" using Facebook to meddle in the 2016 US vote.




The notice comes as Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg prepares to face US Congress over the social network's involvement in the 2016 election and its connections to Russian Federation. Wylie said Sunday he suspects even more than 87 million people had their data harvested.

During a rare press conference last week, Zuckerberg was grilled by journalists over Facebook's privacy lapses.

The social networking giant will be sending a notification to users' Facebook News Feed starting today. "It's a feature", said Robyn Caplan, a researcher at Data & Society, pointing out that Facebook lured third-party developers by offering them access to user data. Nelson said afterward that Zuckerberg was "forthright and honest to the degree he could" be in the private, one-on-one meeting.

"Your household, typically what your job is, it lumps you into different technology tiers as well, whether you're an early adapter or somebody that comes to it late", he said.

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 government plays an important role in enlightened regulation", said Pam Malcolm, of Staatsburg. Wednesday, he is set to appear before the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which released his prepared statement in advance.

"Facebook is an idealistic and optimistic company". According to Zuckerberg, the committee would work with USA foundations and a committee of academic experts to come up with research topics and select independent researchers to study them.

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