- After five hours of testimony on Tuesday, Mark Zuckerberg was before Congress again on Wednesday.
- The Facebook CEO revealed that his data had been harvested by malicious actors on the platform.
Mark Zuckerberg survived his first clash with Congress. Now it’s time for round two.
On Wednesday, the Facebook CEO testified before a House committee over a series of bruising scandals for the social network, including the spread of Russian propaganda on its platform and the data-analysis firm Cambridge Analytica’s harvesting of up to 87 million users’ data.
In the first part of the hearing, Zuckerberg, 33, revealed that malicious actors had harvested his data on the platform, said Facebook was considering suing Cambridge Analytica, and pushed back on allegations that Facebook censors conservatives.
Questioning was considerably more aggressive and informed on Wednesday than at a five-hour hearing on Tuesday before two Senate committees. Zuckerberg has been grilled on the categories of information Facebook collects, its failure to crack down on opioid sales on its platform, and its building of “shadow profiles” of non-users without their consent.
Allegations of anti-conservative bias on the platform was a recurrent theme on Wednesday, with conservative lawmakers repeatedly accusing Zuckerberg’s site of censorship.
In Tuesday’s hearing, Zuckerberg performed well – albeit woodenly – sticking closely to company talking points and avoiding embarrassing gaffes. And the tech illiteracy of many of the senators hampered the efficacy of much of the questioning, with Zuckerberg at times having to explain basic features of the social network.
Wednesday’s hearing covered much of the same ground, featuring a litany of apologies and a recap of already announced policy and context about the Cambridge Analytica case.
Wednesday’s hearing before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce kicked off at 10 a.m. ET (7 a.m. PT, or 3 p.m. BST).
Among the highlights of Tuesday’s Senate hearing:
- Zuckerberg disclosed that Facebook employees had been interviewed by the special counsel’s office as it investigates Russia’s meddling in the 2016 US election.
- Lawmakers also accused the company of violating a Federal Trade Commission order.
- Zuckerberg acknowledged that most people didn’t read the social network’s terms of service before signing up.