Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg testified for nearly 10 hours over two days on Facebook’s privacy and data protection issues before committees of the Senate and House on Tuesday and Wednesday. Here are key points:
– Protecting the platform –
“It’s clear now we didn’t do enough,” Zuckerberg said on the protection of private user data and to prevent the hijacking of data on millions by Cambridge Analytica.
Zuckerberg said Facebook was built as “an idealistic and optimistic company” to help people connect but failed “to prevent these tools from being used for harm… that goes for fake news, for foreign interference in elections, and hate speech, as well as developers and data privacy.”
He said that by the end of the year Facebook would have 20,000 people working on security and content review and would also step up use of artificial intelligence to weed out fake accounts and inappropriate content.
– Regulation –
Zuckerberg said regulation of social media companies is inevitable, but warned that rules could also hamper the industry’s growth.
“The internet is growing in importance around the world in people’s lives, and I think that it is inevitable that there will need to be some regulation,” he told lawmakers.
“But I think you have to be careful about putting regulation in place. A lot of times regulations put in place rules that a company that is larger, that has resources like ours, can easily comply with, but that might be more difficult for a smaller startup company.”
Zuckerberg said the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) to come into effect on May 25 was more stringent than what was currently in place at Facebook and suggested it could serve as a rough model for US rules in the future.
Facebook is implementing the GDPR standards for European users next month, and some of its rules will be extended to US and other users later, he confirmed.
“The GDPR requires us to do a few more things and we are going to extend that to the world,” he said.
– Facebook model –
Zuckerberg maintained that Facebook users deserve protection of private data but appeared to argue that its controls make it possible to determine how information is shared.
He claimed that “there’s a very common misperception… that we sell data to advertisers,” adding that “we do not sell data to advertisers. We don’t sell data to anyone.”
But he maintained that advertising enables Facebook to offer a free service and that targeted ads based on user categories were more acceptable to users, even if they could opt out.
Zuckerberg also said the company believed in an ad-supported business model, but appeared to leave open the possibility of a paid version.
“There will always be a version of Facebook that is free,” Zuckerberg told the hearing.
– Russian manipulation –
The 33-year-old CEO said Facebook was in a constant struggle to guard against Russian manipulation of the Facebook platform to influence elections in the US and elsewhere.
“There are people in Russia whose job it is to try to exploit our systems and other internet systems and other systems as well,” he said.
“So this is an arms race. They’re going to keep getting better and we need to invest in getting better at this too.”
Zuckerberg has previously acknowledged the social network failed to do enough to prevent the spread of disinformation during the last US presidential race.
“One of my greatest regrets in running the company is that we were slow in identifying the Russian information operations in 2016,” he said.
“We expected them to do a number of more traditional cyber attacks, which we did identify and notify the campaigns that they were trying to hack into them. But we were slow at identifying the type of — of new information operations.”
He added that Facebook is cooperating with the special counsel investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
“Our work with the special counsel is confidential. I want to make sure in an open session I don’t reveal something that’s confidential,” he said.
‘Why do we need camo in space’: Trump’s Space Force ridiculed for woodland camouflage uniforms
On Friday, the United States Space Force released an image of their new uniforms on Twitter.
The image shows a Battle Dress Uniform (BDU) for a four-star general in a woodland camouflage pattern, with a matching camo nametape.
However, many people were confused as to why the Space Force would use uniforms designed to blend in on earth.
Here's some of what people were saying:
Sorry for the question but why do we need camo in space?
BUSTED: National Archives caught doctoring exhibit to remove criticism of President Trump from women
The National Archives were caught editing an artifact from the Trump administration to remove criticism of the president, according to a bombshell new report in The Washington Post.
The newspaper reported on a "large color photograph" at the National Archives exhibit marking the centennial of women's suffrage.
"The 49-by-69-inch photograph is a powerful display. Viewed from one perspective, it shows the 2017 march. Viewed from another angle, it shifts to show a 1913 black-and-white image of a women’s suffrage march also on Pennsylvania Avenue. The display links momentous demonstrations for women’s rights more than a century apart on the same stretch of pavement. But a closer look reveals a different story," the newspaper noted.
Dershowitz is running a ‘bizarro defense’ of Trump: Harvard Law colleague says ‘Alan is just completely wacko’
Two of the most famous names associated with Harvard Law School had competing appearances on MSNBC on Friday.
It began when Alan Dershowitz, a professor emeritus, was interviewed MSNBC chief legal correspondent Ari Melber about his new role officially representing President Donald Trump during the Senate impeachment trial.
Dershowitz claimed that neither abuse of power nor obstruction of Congress count as "high crimes" under the constitution.
Professor Alan Dershowitz, who has also been associated with Harvard Law for five decades, was asked about Dershowitz's argument during an interview with Chris Hayes.