Facebooks CEO seemed before Congress in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal to address concerns over users data
Mark Zuckerberg, the Facebook chief executive, warned on Tuesday of an online propaganda” arms race” with Russia and vowed that fighting interference in elections around the world is now his top priority.
The 33 -year-old billionaire, during witnes that lasted nearly five hours, was speaking to Congress in what was widely seen as a moment of reckoning for America’s tech industry. It came in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal in which, Facebook has admitted, the personal information of up to 87 million users were harvested without their permission.
Zuckerberg’s comments dedicated an insight into the unnerving reach and influence of Facebook in numerous democratic societies.” The most important thing I care about right now is constructing sure no one interferes in the various 2018 elections around the world ,” he told under questioning by Senator Tom Udall of New Mexico.
The senator stimulated reference to a billboard displayed earlier in the hearing that proved images- including Trump, the Green Party candidate Jill Stein, and the Confederate flag- allegedly spread online by Russian spies during the 2016 general elections. He asked if Zuckerberg could guarantee such images would not appear on Facebook again.
” Senator , no, I can’t guarantee that because this is an ongoing arms race ,” the CEO said.” As long as there are people sitting in Russia whose undertaking it is to try and interfere with elections around the world, this is going to be an ongoing conflict .”
Earlier in the hearing, Zuckerberg acknowledged that” one of my greatest regrets in running the company” was being slow to uncover and act against disinformation campaigns by Russian trolls during the election.
The blockbuster joint hearing of the US Senate’s commerce and judiciary committees on Capitol Hill was a humbling moment for the young entrepreneur. Wearing a suit, white shirt and sky blue tie instead of his customary T-shirt, he sat contrite and silent as senator after senator carried deep concerns about the company’s meet of personal information.
Senator Bill Nelson, a Democrat, told him:” Let me simply cut to the chase. If you and other social media companies do not get your act in order , none of us are going to have any privacy any more. If Facebook and other online companies will not or cannot fix the privacy invasions, then we are going to have to. We, the Congress .”