WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Facebook data scandal is blooming while confidence in the social media giant is waning. CEO Mark Zuckerberg faces day two of a congressional grilling about his company's future plans to protect user data.
The very media shy and T-shirt wearing CEO sat before senators yesterday in a blue suit and tie to answer two days of tough questions. He's in the hot seat because Facebook admits a company called Cambridge Analytica, a political consulting firm, grabbed the data of 87 million users without their knowledge to create physiological profiles. Then the company targeted those users with fake news and more. But, before Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg took hard questions on day-one of this congressional hearing, he released a seven-page statement saying that social media is generally a tool used for good.
"...it’s clear now that we didn't do enough to prevent these tools from being used for harm as well. That goes for fake news, foreign interference in elections, and hate speech, as well as developers and data privacy. We didn't take a broad enough view of our responsibility, and that was a big mistake. It was my mistake, and I’m sorry. I started Facebook, I run it, and I’m responsible for what happens here."
Early on in day one of questioning, Sen. Orrin Hatch seemed to believe that it should be obvious that social media, while free to you, has to pay for itself somehow.
"Some have professed themselves shocked, shocked that companies like Facebook and Google share user data with advertisers. Did any of these individuals bother to ask why Facebook and Google don't charge for access? Nothing in life is free. Everything involves trade-offs. If you want something without having to pay money for it, you're going to have to pay for it in some other way, it seems to me, " the Utah republican said.
But he like most others there believe the problem is about transparency. Sen. Dick Durbin, a democrat from Illinois, put the billionaire on the spot.
Sen. Durbin: Mr. Zuckerberg, would you be comfortable sharing with us the name of the hotel you stayed in last night?
Mr. Zuckerberg: Uhhhh....uh....no.
Sen. Durbin: If you messaged anybody this week, would you share with us the names of the people you messaged?
Mr. Zuckerberg: Senator, no, I would probably not choose to do that publicly here.
Sen. Durbin: I think that may be what this is all about: You're right to privacy, the limits to your right to privacy, and how much you give away.
Here are two things that Mark Zuckerbeg said he would do or consider doing to protect users and their personal information.
One: He agreed to submit ideas to the panel regarding potential regulation of Facebook. Two: He agreed to potentially notify users within 72 hours if their data has been breached.
This statement by Zuckerberg also piqued viewer interest. Is the company suggesting there may, at some point, be a pay wall?
"There will always be a version of Facebook that users can access without paying," he said.
Congressional testimony continues Wednesday.