Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies before a joint Senate Judiciary and Commerce Committees hearing regarding the company’s use and protection of user data, on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., April 10, 2018. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein
Facebook chief executive officer Mark Zuckerberg on Tuesday navigated through the first of two U.S. congressional hearings without making any further promises to support new legislation or change how the social network does business.
During nearly five hours of questioning by 44 U.S. 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 U.S. elections.
“We didn’t take a broad enough view of our responsibility. And that was a big mistake. And it was my mistake, and I’m sorry. I started Facebook; I run it, and I’m responsible for what happens here. So, now we have to go through all of our relationship with people and make sure that we’re taking a broad enough view of our responsibility. It’s not enough to just connect people. We have to make sure that those connections are positive. It’s not enough to just give people a voice. We need to make sure that people aren’t using it to harm other people or to spread misinformation. And it’s not enough to just give people control over their information. We need to make sure that the developers they share it with protecting their information too,” said Zuckerberg.
But the 33-year-old internet mogul managed to deflect any specific promises to support any congressional regulation of the world’s largest social media network and other U.S. internet companies.
“Yes, and I’ll have my team follow up with you, so that way we can have this discussion across the different categories where I think that this discussion needs happen,” said the Facebook executive.
Investors were impressed with his performance. Shares in Facebook posted their biggest daily gain in nearly two years, closing up 4.5 percent.
The shares fell steeply last month after it came to light that millions of users’ personal information were harvested from Facebook by Cambridge Analytica, a political consultancy that has counted U.S. President Donald Trump’s election campaign among its clients. The latest estimate of affected users is up to 87 million.
That disclosure pitched Facebook into a crisis of confidence among users, advertisers, employees, and investors who were already struggling with Facebook’s reaction to the fake news and its role in the 2016 election. — Reuters