7 Questions That Got Mark Zuckerberg Thinking
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified himself before multiple congressional committees about the company’s data privacy practices and its role in elections around the world.
Personal question on which hotel he stayed last night
On being asked if he would be comfortable sharing the name of the hotel he stayed the night before his testimony day or if he could share the names of the people if he had messaged anybody in the week, Mark appeared hesitant and asserted that, he probably wouldn’t choose to do that publicly.
Does Facebook consider itself a neutral public forum?
Mark was asked if Facebook considered itself to be a neutral public forum allowing everyone to speak, on which he replied that there were certain contents that Facebook did not allow such as hate speech, nudity or anything that makes people unsafe in the community.
The question was rephrased, and Mark was asked if Facebook had any engagement in a political speech. Mark said, the goal was certainly not to get engaged into political speech, he also requested time to follow up with his team and ended his statement saying how broadly he thinks about it.
Is Facebook aware of political orientation of its own content reviewers?
Facebook said in the testimony that they have 15k-20k people working on security and content review. Mark was asked if they were aware of the political orientation of those people engaged in review. Mark replied saying no, as they do not generally ask people about their politically orientation when they join the company.
Did Mark ever made any hiring or firing decision himself as a CEO?
Mark was asked if as a CEO had he ever made any hiring or firing decisions based on the political positions or what candidate they support? He replied as no, he wasn’t involved.
He was also asked that if he hadn’t been involved in firing anyone then why was Palmer Luckey fired. Mark replied saying it’s a specific personal matter which would be inappropriate to speak in the testimony, however he said assuring that he can commit it was not because of a political view.
Is Facebook considering a business model where users could pay for an ad- free service?
Before launching on to the next question the senator invoked his love for chocolate. “I was communicating with my friends on Facebook and indicated that I love a certain kind of chocolate. And suddenly, I started receiving advertisements for chocolate”. He said what if he doesn’t want to receive the chocolate advertisements? also, as per the chief operating officer, Ms. Sandberg suggested that those Facebook users who do not want their personal information used for advertising might have to pay for the protection? does Facebook consider its users to pay for not to use the information?
Mark explained that people have a control over how their information is used in ads in the product today and Facebook wouldn’t target the information available, and for this its users could turn off third-party information. People don’t like ads that aren’t relevant. And he agreed with the discomfort with using information in making ads more relevant, the overwhelming feedback from the community would rather have to show relevant content rather not, so Facebook offers some control over that.
He continued further to clarify that Facebook doesn’t “offer an option today for people to pay to not show ads.”
Centering the hearing on Cambridge:
Lawmakers asked Mark about Cambridge harvesting and his actions to ensure it would not happen again and whether he knew of other operations that were engaged in similar data collection on the platform.
Mark replied saying that Facebook would be investigating many apps, and if they find any suspicious activity, they would conduct a full audit of those apps to understand how they use their data and if they would do anything improper. In case such cases they would ban them from Facebook and inform everyone affected.
Democrats press on Russia meddling:
Mark was pressed with the question on the Russia’s exploitation of the platform during the 2016 presidential election.
On which Mark admitted that the company’s efforts to find and stop the Russia meddling was slow and called the failure expressing one of his greatest regrets. But he added further saying that the company deployed new artificial intelligence tools to detect the malicious activity in elections in France, Italy, Russia and Alabama. He said he believes that the new technology would help protect the integrity of elections around the world from manipulation via Facebook.