We Know the Importance of Upcoming Elections in India, Mark Zuckerberg Tells US Lawmakers
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg noted that there are several important elections in 2018 in countries like India, Hungary and Brazil and his company wants to ensure protection of integrity in these elections.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies before a joint hearing of the Commerce and Judiciary Committees on Capitol Hill in Washington on April 10, 2018, about the use of Facebook data to target American voters in the 2016 election. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Washington: Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg during his congressional hearing on Tuesday said he wants to ensure protection of integrity of elections, mentioning that he knows the importance of the upcoming polls in countries, including India, Hungary and Brazil.
Zuckerberg faced a joint hearing of the Senate Judiciary and Commerce committees. He noted that there are several important elections in 2018 in countries like India, Hungary and Brazil and his company wants to ensure protection of integrity in these elections.
Zuckerberg, 33, testified before the senators and a House panel amid a firestorm over the alleged hijacking of data of millions of Facebook users by British firm Cambridge Analytica.
A satirical take on Mark Zuckerberg's Senate testimony on Facebook data breach. (Mir Suhail/News18 Creatives)
Cambridge Analytica also had operations in India, and the BJP and Congress have accused each other of employing the services of the tainted UK firm to formulate election strategy. On Friday, it was revealed that data of 5.62 lakh Indians had been compromised by Cambridge Analytica.
During nearly five hours of questioning by 44 US senators, Zuckerberg repeated apologies he previously made for a range of problems that have beset Facebook, from a lack of data protection to Russian agents using Facebook to influence US elections.
The wide-ranging questions — including about Cambridge Analytica, which used data scraped from 87 million Facebook users to target political ads ahead of the 2016 US election — put the 33-year-old billionaire under a microscope for several hours.
Wearing a dark suit and tie instead of his typical T-shirt and jeans, Zuckerberg remained largely unruffled and serious as senators questioned him. But some senators did provoke a reaction. Zuckerberg was asked whether Facebook was a monopoly. "It certainly doesn't feel that way to me," he said, breaking into a smile as the audience laughed.
But the senators who asked sharp questions were often at a disadvantage because each had only five minutes to pin down the billionaire.
Democratic Senator Kamala Harris, from Facebook's home state of California, asked a line of questions about whether Zuckerberg or his senior executives considered notifying Facebook users of the data breach. She was among the lawmakers dissatisfied.
Facebook disclosed in September that Russians under fake names used the social network to try to influence U.S. voters in the months before and after the 2016 election, writing about inflammatory subjects, setting up events and buying ads.
"We believe it is entirely possible that there will be a connection there," Zuckerberg said when asked if there was overlap between Cambridge Analytica's harvested user data and the political propaganda pushed by the Kremlin-linked Internet Research Agency during the 2016 presidential election, which Facebook has said was seen by some 126 million people.
The US Federal Trade Commission is investigating whether Facebook violated an agreement it signed with the agency in 2011 by its actions in the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
In the agreement, which Facebook signed to end an investigation into privacy breaches, the company promised not to misrepresent the extent to which it maintains the privacy or security of personal information, and it said it would obtain users' affirmative consent before sharing personal information with any third party.
Zuckerberg told senators he did not see the Cambridge Analytica episode as a violation. But he acknowledged that Facebook did not notify the FTC in 2015 when it first learned of that company's data-harvesting.
On Friday, Zuckerberg threw his support behind proposed legislation, known as the Honest Ads Act, that would require social media sites to disclose the identities of buyers of online political campaign ads.
On Tuesday, however, Zuckerberg would not agree to speak out further on behalf of the Honest Ads Act.
"Are you going to come back up here and be a strong advocate to see that that law's passed?" asked Democratic Senator Tom Udall.
"Senator, the biggest thing I think we can do is implement it," Zuckerberg responded, saying that Facebook already planned to comply voluntarily.
Udall pressed: "I'd like a yes or no answer."
Zuckerberg again demurred, saying: "I'm going to direct my team to focus on this."
(With agency inputs)
Get the best of News18 delivered to your inbox - subscribe to News18 Daybreak. Follow News18.com on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, TikTok and on YouTube, and stay in the know with what's happening in the world around you – in real time.
Subscribe to Moneycontrol Pro and gain access to curated markets data, trading recommendations, equity analysis, investment ideas, insights from market gurus and much more. Get Moneycontrol PRO for 1 year at price of 3 months. Use code FREEDOM.
Recommended For You
- Yezdi Motorcycles to Make India Entry Soon; Instagram, Website Goes Live
- Karan Johar's Wish List for Kuch Kuch Hota Hai Reboot Has Ranveer, Alia, Janhvi
- Airtel Forgot About The Home Bundle And Reliance Jio Fiber Has Stolen The March
- Instagram Users Can Report False Content And Expect Fact Checkers to Verify it
- Microsoft Surface Pro 6 and Surface Book 2 Firmware Update Causing CPU Issues