Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg apologized to United States lawmakers on Tuesday, telling a Congressional hearing the company did not do enough to prevent the misuse of user data. Among the crowds of spectators lining up to watch Zuckerberg get grilled were members of the activist group CodePink, wearing oversized sunglasses with the words, "Stop Spying", written across them. It is not enough to just build tools, we need to make sure they are used for good. Bill Nelson (D-FL.) raised the possibility of legislative regulation to curb data hacking, telling Zuckerberg that "if Facebook and other online companies will not or can not fix these privacy invasions, then we will".
In his opening remarks, Zuckerberg apologized for the use of Facebook by Russian operatives seeking to interfere in the 2016 USA presidential election.
Anyone expecting Tuesday's hearing to be a bloodbath, however, likely came away disappointed. That wasn't necessarily a bad thing. "Were you part of a discussion that ... resulted in a decision not to inform your users?"
In any other scenario, the surface-level questions from lawmakers would be cause for concern (and perhaps they still are here, at least in some cases).
He said Facebook had changed the entire platform in 2014 to "dramatically limit the Facebook information apps could access". Roy Blunt, R-Mo., asked whether Facebook tracks users' devices even when they are not connected to Facebook.
This is not the first time Zuckerberg has shown or hinted that he cares for his privacy in ways the regular Facebook users don't.
Today's Senate hearing starring Mark Zuckerberg may have you asking, "What the Zuck is going on here?"
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was calm throughout his hearing, answering questions candidly and confidently.
But he managed to basically stay on message throughout the five-hour hearing.
The scandal: A whistleblower revealed in March that his former employer, Cambridge Analytica, gained access to the personal data of millions of Facebook users without their knowledge. Facebook can charge more money the more specific the audience is.
In his opening bit of testimony, Zuckerberg said, "it's clear now that we didn't do enough to prevent these tools from being used for harm as well".
In response to numerous questions, rather than offering immediate answers Zuckerberg said he'd have his "team" get back to senators with details. Zuckerberg stumbled as he rattled off names like Google, Apple, Amazon, and Microsoft.
Graham: Who is your biggest competitor?
The Facebook chief fended off questions from senators about how the social network might be regulated more closely. He also said Facebook is adding a feature to offer users more information about ads. And it was my mistake, and I'm sorry.
Beginning at noon Eastern time on Monday, users should start seeing one of two messages at the top of their Facebook feed with the header "Protecting Your Information".
Many of these Senate carnival barkers are going easy on Zuckerberg because they're hoping he'll remember their lenience and offer a re-election handout.
"Senator, I think that that certainly makes sense to discuss, and I think the details around this matter a lot", Zuckerberg replied.
Mark Zuckerberg didn't really screw up.
"When he said to me very forthrightly, 'We were lied to and we should have caught that, ' I believe that, but I think in today's world that's naïve", Nelson said.