Zuckerberg denies knowledge of Facebook shadow profiles

The fact that Facebook probably has a profile of you whether you’re a Facebook user or not might come as a surprise to some users, though today even the company’s chief executive denied knowledge of the practice — or at least the term used to describe it.

In this morning’s hearing with the House Energy and Commerce Committee, New Mexico Representative Ben Lujan cornered Mark Zuckerberg with a question about so-called ” shadow profiles” — the term often used to refer to the data that Facebook collects on non-users and other hide data that Facebook holds but does not offer openly on the site for users to see.

In one of the handful of somewhat candid moments of the past few days, Rep. Lujan pressed Zuckerberg on the practice today 😛 TAGEND

Lujan : Facebook has detailed profiles on people who have never signed up for Facebook, yes or no?

Zuckerberg : Congressman, in general we collect data on people who have not signed up for Facebook for security purposes to prevent the kind of scraping you were just referring to[ reverse searches based on public info like phone numbers ].

Lujan : So these are called shadow profiles, is that what they’ve been referred to by some?

Zuckerberg: Congressman, I’m not, I’m not familiar with that .

Lujan : I’ll refer to them as shadow profiles for today’s hearing. On average, how many data points does Facebook have on each Facebook user?

Zuckerberg : I do not know off the top of my head.

Lujan : Do you know how many points of data Facebook has on the average non-Facebook user?

Zuckerberg : Congressman, I do not know off the top of my head but I can have our team get back to you afterward.

Lujan : It’s been admitted by Facebook that you do collect data points on non-[ Facebook users ]. My question is, can someone who does not have a Facebook account opt out of Facebook’s involuntary data collected ?

Zuckerberg : Anyone can turn off and opt out of any data collection for ads, whether they use our services or not, but in order to prevent people from scraping public information … we need to know when someone is repeatedly trying to access our services.

Lujan : It may surprise you that we’ve not “was talkin about a” this a lot today. You’ve said everyone controls their data, but you’re collecting data on people who are not even Facebook users who have never signed a consent, a privacy agreement .

And it may surprise you that on Facebook’s page when you go to” I don’t have a Facebook account and would like to request all my personal data stored by Facebook” it takes you to a kind that tells” go to your Facebook page and then on your account decideds you can download your data .”

So you’re directing people that don’t even have a Facebook page to sign up for a Facebook page to access their data … We’ve got to change that.

As TechCrunch’s Natasha Lomas explained during a 2013 Facebook privacy scandal 😛 TAGEND

Chances are someone you have corresponded with — by email or mobile phone — has let Facebook’s data spiders crawl through their correspondence, thereby allowing your contact data to be assimilated altogether without your knowledge or consent.

During that privacy breach, Facebook uncovered the email addresses and phone numbers of six million users, though it subsequently became apparent that a chunk of those accounts were never handed over to the platform directly by Facebook users. This information can be drawn into Facebook’s vast data aggregation machine through friends or friends of friends via all kinds of channels, including the” find friends” feature that allows the app to scan mobile contacts.

For all of Zuckerberg’s claims that Facebook users own their data, users — and non-users — have no way of determining the full trove of data that the company stores on an individual. As Rep. Lujan was suggesting, it’s likely that the Facebook data users are able to view on the platform is likely merely the tip of the company’s immense data iceberg.

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Zuckerberg owns or clones most of the 8 social apps he cites as competition

Mark Zuckerberg’s flimsy defense when congress requested information about a lack of competition to Facebook has been to quotes that the average American uses eight social apps. But that conveniently glosses over the fact that Facebook owns three of the top 10 U.S. iOS apps:# 4 Instagram,# 6 Messenger, and# 8 Facebook according to App Annie. The top 3 apps are games. Facebook is constructing its Watch video hub to challenge# 5 YouTube, and has relentlessly cloned Stories to beat# 7 Snapchat. And Facebook also owns #19 WhatsApp. Zoom in to merely” social networking apps”, and Facebook owns the entire top 3.

” The average American I guess utilizes eight different communication and social apps. So there’s a lot of various types of option and a lot of innovation and activity going on in this space” Zuckerberg said when asked about whether Facebook is a monopoly by Senator Graham during yesterday’s Senate hearing, and he’s trotted out that same talking point that was on his note sheet during today’s House witnes.

But Facebook has relentlessly sought to acquire or co-opt the features of its challengers. That’s why any valuable regulation will require congress to prioritize rivalry. That entails either broken off Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp; avoiding regulations that are easy for Facebook to comply with but prohibitively expensive for potential challengers to manage; or ensuring data portability that allows users to select where to take their contents and personal information.

Breaking up Facebook, or at the least preventing it from acquiring established social networks in the future, would be the most powerful way to promote competition in the space. Facebook’s multi-app structure creates economies of scale in data that allow it to share ad targeting and sales teams, backend engineering, and relevancy-sorting algorithm. That constructs it tough for smaller challengers without as much fund or data to provide the public with more choice.

Regulation done wrong could create a moat for Facebook, locking in its result. Complex transparency statutes might be merely a paperwork velocity bump for Facebook and its army of lawyers, but could be too onerous for upstart companies to follow. Meanwhile, data collected regulation could avoid challengers from ever building as big of a data war chest as Facebook has already generated.

Data portability dedicates users the option to choose the best social network for them, rather than being stuck where they already are. Facebook provides a Download Your Information tool for exporting your content. But photos come back compressed, and you don’t get the contact info of friends unless they opt in. The listing of friends’ names you receive doesn’t allow you to find them on other apps the style contact info would. Facebook should at least offer a technique for your exporting hashed version of that contact info that other apps could use to help you find your friends there without violating the privacy rights of those friends. Meanwhile, Instagram altogether absence a Download Your Information tool.

Congress should push Zuckerberg to explain what apps compete with Facebook as a core identity provider, an omni-purpose social graph, or cross-platform messaging app. Without choice, users are at the compassion of Facebook’s policy and product examples. All of the congressional questions about data privacy and security don’t mean much to the public if they have no viable alternative to Facebook. The fact that Facebook owns or clones the majority of the 8 social apps used by the average American is nothing for Zuckerberg to boast about.

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Zuckerberg doesnt want to talk about changing the business model

Facebook is testifying is again before congress about the Cambridge Analytica debacle and Facebook’s privacy policy in general. One representative including with regard to nailed down Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s position on many subjects.

The U.S. Representative for California’s 18 th congressional district Anna Eshoo started by setting the tone. “First, I believe that our democratic institutions are undergoing a stress exam in our country, ” she said. “Putting our private information on offer without concern for possible misuses is simply irresponsible, ” she added.

Eshoo asked her constituents to submit questions that they want to ask Zuckerberg. The result is an intense four-minute yes-or-no round of questions.

While Zuckerberg was pretty good at answering yes or no to Eshoo’s topics, it wasn’t so simple with the business model topic. “Are you willing to change your business model in the interest of protecting individual privacy? ” she asked.

“Congresswoman, we have made and are continuing to make changes to reduce the amount of data…” Zuckerberg told. Eshoo stopped him and recurred her question word for word.

“Congresswoman, I’m not sure what that means, ” Zuckerberg said.

Earlier questions were also quite telling. “Do you think you have a moral responsibility to run a platform that protects our republic? Yes or no? ” she asked. After a short reluctance, Zuckerberg answered yes.

Later in the conversation, Eshoo asked if Facebook would offer a blanket opt-in option to share their personal data with third-party companies.

“Congresswoman, yes, that’s how our platform works. You have to opt in to sign in to any app before you use it, ” Zuckerberg said.

“Let me merely add that it is a minefield in order to do that and you have to make it transparent, clear, in pedestrian language:’ this is what we will do with your data, do you want this to happen or not? ’ So I think this is being blurred, I think you know what I entail, ” Eshoo said.

Even more interesting, when Zuckerberg used to say Facebook was analyse third-party developers who “had access to large amounts of data, ” Eshoo couldn’t take it.

“What does that mean? ” she said. Zuckerberg recurred his answer about the internal investigation, without clarifying what Zuckerberg means by large amounts of data and who qualifies for that.

No other representative thought about asking a basic question about Cambridge Analytica’s data. Eshoo asked if Zuckerberg’s data was included in the data sold to the malicious third party. Zuckerberg simply answered “yes.”

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Mark Zuckerberg: We do not sell data to advertisers

While many of us in the tech world are familiar with Facebook’s business model, there is a common delusion among people that Facebook collects information about you and then sells that information to advertisers.

Zuckerberg wants everyone( especially the U.S. Senate) to know that’s not the case, and has laid forth the most simple instance to explain it.

During his testimony, the Facebook CEO clarified to Senator John Cornyn that Facebook does not sell data.

There is a very common misconception that we sell data to advertisers, and we do not sell data to advertisers. What we let is for advertisers to tell us who they want to reach and then we do the placement. So, if an advertiser comes to us and tells,’ Alright, I’m a ski store and I want to sell skis to women ,’ then we might have some sense because people shared skiing related content or said they were interested in that. They shared whether they’re a woman. And then we can show the ads to the right people without that data ever changing hands and going to the advertiser. That’s a very fundamental part of how our model works and something that is often misunderstood.

While, again, this may seem straightforward to many of us, Zuckerberg detected himself having to explain more than once that Facebook does not sell data during the course of its Senate testimony.

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Highlights and audio from Zuckerbergs emotional Q&A on scandals

” This is going to be a never-ending battle ,” told Mark Zuckerberg. He only gave the most candid appear yet into his thoughts about Cambridge Analytica, data privacy and Facebook’s sweeping developer platform changes during a conference call with reporters today. Voicing alternately vulnerable about his past negligence and confident about Facebook’s strategy going forward, Zuckerberg took nearly an hour of tough questions.

You can read a transcript here and listen to a recording of the bellow below 😛 TAGEND

The CEO started the call by giving his condolences to those affected by the shooting at YouTube yesterday. He then delivered this mea culpa on privacy 😛 TAGEND

We’re an idealistic and optimistic company … but it’s clear now that we didn’t do enough. We didn’t focus enough on preventing abuse and thinking through how people could use these tools to do damage as well … We didn’t take a broad enough opinion of what our responsibility is and that was a huge mistake. That was my mistake.

It’s not enough to simply connect people. We have to make sure those connects are positive and that they’re bringing people together. It’s not enough just to give people a voice, we have to make sure that people are not utilizing that voice to hurt people or spread misinformation. And it’s not enough to give people tools to sign into apps, we have to make sure that all those developers protect people’s information too.

It’s not enough to have regulations requiring that they protect the information. It’s not enough to believe them when they’re telling us they’re protecting information. We actually have to ensure that everyone in our ecosystem protects people’s information.

This is Zuckerberg’s strongest statement yet about his and Facebook’s failure to anticipate worst-case scenarios , which has led to a string of scandals that are now decimating the company’s morale. Spelling out how policy means nothing without enforcement, and pairing that with a massive reduction in how much data app developers can request from users builds it seem like Facebook is ready to turn over a new leaf.

Here are the highlights from the rest of the call 😛 TAGEND

On Zuckerberg calling fake news’ influence “crazy”: ” I clearly made a mistake by just rejecting fake news as crazy — as has implications … it was too flippant. I never should have referred to it as crazy.

Facebook and the endless string of worst-case scenarios

https://techcrunch.com/2018/03/18/move-fast-and-fake-things/embed/#?secret=c84fgh2vht

On deleting Russian trolls : Not only did Facebook delete 135 Facebook and Instagram accounts belonging to Russian government-connected election interference troll farm the Internet Research Agency, as Facebook announced yesterday, Zuckerberg told Facebook removed” a Russian news organization that we decided was controlled and operated by the IRA .”

On the 87 million number : Regarding today’s disclosure that up to 87 million people had their data improperly accessed by Cambridge Analytica,” it very well could be less but we wanted to put out the maximum that we felt it could be as soon as we had that analysis .” Zuckerberg also referred to The New York Times’ report , noting that ” We never put out the 50 million number, that was other parties .”

Facebook acknowledges Cambridge Analytica hijacked data on up to 87 M users

https://techcrunch.com/2018/04/04/cambridge-analytica-87-million/embed/#?secret=MucSvCrIU0

On users having their public info scraped : Facebook announced this morning that” we believe most people on Facebook could have had their public profile rubbed” via its search by phone number or email address feature and account recovery system. Scammers abused these to punch in one piece of info and then pair it to someone’s name and photo. Zuckerberg told search features are useful in languages where it’s hard to type or a lot of people have the same names. But” the methods of react limiting this weren’t able to prevent malicious performers who cycled through hundreds of thousands of IP address and did a relatively small number of queries for each one, so given that and what we know to day it merely stimulates sense to shut that down .”

On when Facebook learned about the scraping and why it didn’t inform the public sooner :” We looked into this and is understandable more over the last few days as part of the audit of our overall system ,” Zuckerberg told, declining to specify when Facebook first identified the questions.[ Update: Facebook subsequently specified that the sophisticated scraping had been picked up in the past few weeks during the audit, recently corroborated, and that the company disclosed the situation as soon as it had details ready .]

On enforcing GDPR worldwide : Zuckerberg refuted a Reuters story from yesterday saying that Facebook wouldn’t bring GDPR privacy protections to the U.S. and elsewhere. Instead he tells,” we’re going to make all the same controls and situates available everywhere , not just in Europe.”

Zuckerberg says Facebook will offer GDPR privacy controls everywhere

https://techcrunch.com/2018/04/04/zuckerberg-gdpr/embed/#?secret=sPlcwiLsyX

On if board has discussed him stepping down as chairman :” Not that I’m aware of ,” Zuckerberg said happily.

On if he still thinks he’s the best person to run Facebook :” Yes. Life is about draw lessons from the mistakes and figuring out what you need to do to move forward … I think what people should evaluate us on is learning from our mistakes … and if we’re building things people like and that make their lives better … there are billions of people who love the products we’re building .”

On the Boz memo and prioritizing business over security :” The things that induces our product challenging to manage and operate are not the trade-offs between people and the business. I actually guess those are quite easy because over the long-term, the business will be better if you serve people. I think it would be near-sighted to focus on short-term revenue over people, and I don’t think we’re that short-sighted. All the hard decisions we have to make are trade-offs between people. Different people who use Facebook have different wants. Some people want to share political speech that they think is valid, and other people feel like it’s hate speech … we don’t always get them right .”

The real threat to Facebook is the Kool-Aid turning sour

https://techcrunch.com/2018/03/30/loose-lips-sink-apps/embed/#?secret=PzQOJKFQvc

On whether Facebook can audit all app developers :” We’re not going to be able to go out and necessarily find every bad use of data ,” Zuckerberg said, but confidently said,” Iactually do think we’re going to be able to cover a large amount of that activity .”

On whether Facebook will sue Cambridge Analytica :” We have stood down temporarily to let the[ U.K. government] do their investigation and their audit. Once that’s done we’ll resume ours … and ultimately to make sure none of the data persists or is being used improperly. And at that point if it constructs sense we will take legal action if we need to do that to get people’s datum .”

Cambridge Analytica denies accessing data on 87 M Facebook users…claims 30 M

https://techcrunch.com/2018/04/04/cambridge-analytica-30-million/embed/#?secret=eSHEnlfqHU

On how Facebook will measure its impact on fixing privacy : Zuckerberg wants to be able to measure” the prevalence of different categories of bad content like fake news, dislike speech, bully, terrorism … That’s going to end up being the style we should be held accountable and measured by the public … My hope is that over day the playbook and scorecard we put out will also be followed by other internet platforms so that style there can be a standard measure across the industry .”

On whether Facebook should try to earn less fund by utilizing less data for targeting :” People tell us if they’re going to see ads they want the ads to be good … that the ads are actually relevant to what they care about … On the one hand people want relevant experiences, and on the other hand I do think there’s some inconvenience with how data applies in systems like ads. But I think the feedback is overwhelmingly on the side of wanting a better experience. Perhaps it’s 95 -5 .”

Facebook rewrites Terms of Service, clarifying device data collected

https://techcrunch.com/2018/04/04/facebook-terms-of-service/embed/#?secret=CIbkxZgEgI

On whether #DeleteFacebook has had an impact on utilization or ad revenue :” I don’t think there’s been any meaningful impact that we’ve find … but it’s not good .”

On the timeline for fixing data privacy :” This is going to be a never-ending combat. You never fully solve security. It’s an limbs race ,” Zuckerberg said early in the bellow. Then to shut Q& A, he said,” I think this is a multi-year endeavor. My hope is that by the end of this year we’ll have turned the corner on a lot of these issues and that people will see that things are getting a lot better .”

Overall, this was the moment of humility, candor and contrition Facebook desperately needed. Users, developers, regulators and the company’s own employees have felt in the dark this last month, but Zuckerberg did his best to lay out a clear route forward for Facebook. His willingness to endure these questions was admirable, even if he deserved the grilling.

The company’s problems won’t vanish, and its past sins can’t be apologized away. But Facebook and its leader have finally ripened past the incredulous dismissals and paralysis that characterized its response to past scandals. It’s ready to get to work.

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Zuckerbergs boring testimony is a big win for Facebook

Mark Zuckerberg ran his apology scripts, trotted out his listings of policy fixings and generally dulled the Senate into submission. And that constitutes success for Facebook.

Zuckerberg testified before the joint Senate judiciary and commerce committee today, capitalizing on the absence of knowledge of the political leaders and their surface-level questions. Half the time, Zuckerberg got to simply paraphrase blog posts and statements he’d already released. Much of the other half, he merely explained how basic Facebook functionality works.

The senators hadn’t done their homework, but he had. All that training with D.C. image consultants paid off.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg arrives to testify before a joint hearing of the US Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee and Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol hill, April 10, 2018 in Washington, DC.( Photo: JIM WATSON/ AFP/ Getty Images)

Sidestepping any gotcha questions or meme-worthy sound bites, Zuckerberg’s repetitive answers gave the impression that there’s little left to uncover, whether or not that’s true. He made a persuading argument that Facebook is atoning for its sins, is cognizant of its responsibility and has a concrete scheme in place to improve data privacy.

With just five minutes per senator, and them each with a queue of questions to get through, few focused on the tougher queries, and even fewer had period for follow-ups to dig for real answers.

Did Facebook cover up the Cambridge Analytica scandal or decide against adding privacy protections earlier to protect its developer platform? Is it a breach of trust for Zuckerberg and other executives to have deleted their Facebook messages out of recipients’ inboxes? How has Facebook used a lack of data portability to hinder the rise of challengers? Why doesn’t Instagram let users export their data the route they can from Facebook?

The public didn’t get answers to any of those questions today. Just Mark’s steady voice regurgitating Facebook’s talking phases. Investors rewarded Facebook for its monotony with a 4.5 percentage share cost boost.

That’s not to say today’s hearing wasn’t effective. It’s just that potential impacts was feel before Zuckerberg waded through a hundred photographers to take his seat in the Senate office.

Facebook knew the working day was coming, and worked to build Zuckerberg a fortress of facts he could point to no matter what he got asked 😛 TAGEND

Was Facebook asleep at the wheel during the 2016 election? Yesterday it disclosed it had deleted the accounts of Russian GRU intelligence operatives in June 2016.

How will Facebook prevent this from happening again? Last week it announced plans to require identity and locating verification for any political advertiser or popular Facebook Page, and significantly limited its developer platform.

Is Facebook taking this seriously? Zuckerberg wrote in his prepared evidence for today that Facebook is doubling its security and content moderation squad from 10,000 to 20,000, and that” protecting our community is more important than maximizing our profits .”

Is Facebook sorry?” We didn’t take a broad enough view of what its own responsibilities is and that was a huge mistake. That was my mistake ,” Zuckerberg has said , over and over.

Mark Zuckerberg: There will always be a version of Facebook that is free

Today during Mark Zuckerberg’s testimony before the Senate, the Facebook CEO reiterated that” there will always be a version of Facebook that is free .”

In the midst of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, in which the user data supplied by up to 87 million people was sold by a third-party developer to Trump Campaign-linked firm Cambridge Analytica, there has been talk of Facebook potentially adding a subscription layer.

The scandal has brought to light the heart of a number of problems that many have been well aware of: if you’re not buying a product, you are the product.

Last week, when asked if there might be a style for users to opt out of being targeted for ads, Sandberg reacted saying they’d have to pay for it.

” We have different forms of opt-out, ” Sandberg responded.” We don’t have an opt-out at the highest level. That would be a paid product .”

Our own Josh Constine made an debate that ad-free subscriptions could save Facebook. And while there’s no term on an ad-free subscription, Zuckerberg did at least leave room for it in the future , noting that there will always be a version of Facebook that is free.

” How do you sustain a business model in which users don’t pay for your service ?” Senator Orrin Hatch asked Zuckerberg.

” Senator, we run ads .”

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Zuckerberg fires back at Tim Cook, opens up about fake news

Zuckerberg has been on a bit of a publicity tour following the Cambridge Analytica scandal and a generally tough year for the social media behemoth.

This morning, an interview with Zuck was published on Vox’s The Ezra Klein Show. In it, the Facebook CEO waded through some of the company’s most pressing issues, including how to deal with fake news and help support good journalism and how to deal with governing a community of 2 billion people. Zuck also clapped back at Tim Cook who has blamed Facebook’s model of producing revenue through advertising.

Fake News

On the problem of Fake News and transparency in the past 😛 TAGEND

It’s tough to be transparent when we don’t first have a full understanding of where the nation of some of the systems are. In 2016, we were behind having an understanding and operational excellence on preventing things like misinformation, Russian interference. And you can bet that that’s a huge focus for us going forward.

On how Facebook is trying to serve up content, including news content, that is meaningful to users 😛 TAGEND

The way that this works today, broadly, is we have panels of hundreds or thousands of people who come in and we show them all the content that their friends and pages who they follow have shared. And we ask them to rank it, and basically tell, “What were the most meaningful things that you wish were at the top of feed? ” And then we try to design algorithm that only map to what people are actually telling us is meaningful to them. Not what they click on , not what is going to make us the most revenue, but what people actually find meaningful and valuable. So when we’re induce shifts — like the broadly trusted shift — the reason why we’re doing that is because it actually maps to what people are telling us they want at a deep level.

Zuck was also asked about supporting news organizations, as some slice of Facebook’s revenue comes from users devouring news on the platform 😛 TAGEND

For the larger institutions, and maybe even some of the smaller ones as well, subscriptions are genuinely a key point on this. I suppose a lot of these business models are moving towards a higher percentage of subscriptions, where the people who are getting the highest value from you are contributing a disproportionate amount to the revenue. And there are certainly a lot of things that we can do on Facebook to help people, to assist these news organizations, drive subscriptions. And that’s certainly been a lot of the run that we’ve done and we’ll continue doing.

He also addressed that subscriptions might not work for local news, which the CEO believes are equally important 😛 TAGEND

In local news, I think some of the solutions might be a little bit different. But I think it’s easy to lose track of how important this is. There’s been a lot of conversation about civic participation changing, and I think people can lose sight of how closely tied that can be to local news. In a town with a strong local newspaper, people are much more informed, they’re much more likely to be civically active. On Facebook we’ve taken steps to show more local news to people. We’re also working with them specifically, creating funds to support them and working on both subscriptions and ads there should hopefully create a more thriving ecosystem.

In Reaction to Tim Cook

In an interview last week, the Apple CEO used to say tech firms “are beyond” self-regulation. When asked what he would do if he was in Zuckerberg’s position, Cook said ” I wouldn’t be in this situation .” The CEO has long is of the view that an advertising model, in which companies use data around users to sell to brands, is not what Apple wants to become.

” They’re gobbling up everything they can learn about you and trying to monetize it ,” he told of Facebook and Google in 2015.” We think that’s incorrect. And it’s not the kind of company that Apple wants to be .”

Zuck was asked about Cook’s statements in the interview 😛 TAGEND

You know, I find that debate, that if you’re not paying that somehow we can’t care about you, to be extremely glib. And not at all aligned with the truth. The reality here is that if you want to build a service that helps connect everyone in the world, then there are a lot of people who can’t afford to pay. And therefore, as with a lot of media, having an advertising-supported model is the only rational model that can support constructing this service to reach people.

That doesn’t mean that we’re not primarily focused on serving people. I believe probably to the discontent of our sales squad here, I make all of our decisions based on what’s going to matter to our community and focus much less on the advertising side of the business.

Zuck even took the opportunity to clap back at Cook a bit, saying we shouldn’t believe that companies trying to charge us more actually care about us.

But if you want to build a service which is not just serving rich person, then you need to have something that people can afford. I believed Jeff Bezos had an excellent saying on this in one of his Kindle launches a number of years back. He told, “There are companies that work hard to charge you more, and there are companies that work hard to charge you less.” And at Facebook, we are squarely in the camp of the companies that work hard to charge you less and provide a free service that everyone can use.

I don’t suppose at all that that means that we don’t am worried about people. To the contrary, I think it’s important that we don’t all get Stockholm Syndrome and let the companies that work hard to charge you more persuade you that they actually care more about you. Because that sounds ridiculous to me.

The Government of Facebook

Vox’s founder and Editor-at-Large Ezra Klein brought up something Zuck said in an earlier interview, that Facebook was more like a government than a traditional company. Zuck has pointed out that disputes over what content is admissible on Facebook has grown to a scale that requires a certain level of governance.

But I think it’s actually one of the most interesting philosophical questions that we face. With their home communities of more than 2 billion people, all around the world, in every different country, where there are wildly different social and cultural norms, it’s only not clear to me that us sitting in an office here in California are best placed to always ascertain what the policies should be for people all around the world. And I’ve been working on and thinking through, how are you able set up a more democratic or community-oriented process that reflects the values of people around the world?

That’s one of the things that I actually think we need to get right. Because I’m merely not sure that the current state is a great one.

On how Facebook could prepare for its own overwhelming scale 😛 TAGEND

One is transparency. Right now, I don’t think we are transparent enough around the prevalence of different issues on the platform. We haven’t done a good job of publishing and being transparent about the prevalence of those kind of issues, and the run that we’re doing and the trends of how we’re driving those things down over time.

And on long-term objectives for governance 😛 TAGEND

But over the long-term, what I’d really like to get to is an independent appeal. So maybe folks at Facebook make the first decision based on the community standards that are outlined, and then people can get a second sentiment. You can imagine some sort of structure, almost like a Supreme court, that is made up of independent folks who don’t work for Facebook, who ultimately build the final judgment call on what should be acceptable speech in their home communities that reflects the social norms and values of people all around the world.

You can read the full interview at Vox.com.

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Mark Zuckerberg vows to fight election meddling in marathon Senate grilling

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 .”

Mark
Mark Zuckerberg arrives to testify before a joint hearing of the US Senate commerce, science and transportation committee and Senate judiciary committee. Photo: Jim Watson/ AFP/ Getty Images

Senator John Thune, a Republican and the chairman of the Senate commerce committee , noted that Facebook’s business model offers a free service in exchange for personal data.” For this model to persist, both sides of the bargain need to know what’s involved ,” he said.” I’m not persuaded Facebook’s users have the information they need to make decisions .”

Thune added:” Mr Zuckerberg, in many ways you and the company that you’ve created, the tale you’ve created, represent the American dreaming … At the same hour, you have an obligation, and it’s up to you, to ensure that dreaming doesn’t become a privacy nightmare for the scores of people who use Facebook .”

Zuckerberg and Facebook’s chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg, have been on a media apology tour since the Cambridge Analytica story broke in the Observer, the Guardian’s sister Sunday newspaper in the UK, and he continued to apologize several times during Tuesday’s hearing.

Zuckerberg acknowledged that Facebook should not have trusted Cambridge Analytica’s assurance that it would stop using the personal information it harvested.” In retrospect, that was a mistake. We shouldn’t have taken their term for it. We considered that a closed instance .” He admitted that Facebook did not alert the Federal Trade Commission about the data collection.

Under questioning, he promised that Facebook was conducting a” full investigation” into every app that has access to users’ datum, numbering tens of thousands.” If we find they’re doing anything improper, we’ll ban them from Facebook ,” he said.

He also initially claimed that Cambridge Analytica had not been an advertiser in 2015 but, after a brief adjournment in which he consulted with personnel, he corrected himself: it had indeed been an advertiser subsequently that year and therefore could have been banned.

When Zuckerberg, who was constructing his first appearance before Congress, first took his seat, surrounded by a thick wood of clicking cameras, he seemed somewhat like a prisoner in the dock. But he seemed to grow in confidence as the afternoon wore on and tried to appear open and cooperative. He frequently used the respectful word “Senator” and complimented them for asking “important questions”, some of which he told ” his team” would report back on later.

Some senators tried to throw him off balance. John Kennedy of Louisiana told bluntly:” Your user agreement sucks .” Democrat Dick Durbin asked:” Would you be comfortable sharing with us the name of the hotel you stayed in last night ?” There was a long intermission before Zuckerberg responded: “No.” There was laugh in the room.

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Five key moments from Mark Zuckerberg’s testimony- video

But the Facebook co-founder was not eviscerated as some commentators had predicted. The stock exchange concurred: Facebook’s price, which had fallen seriously in recent weeks, objective the day up 4.5%. Zuckerberg plainly felt he was acquitting himself well. When Thune asked if he wanted a break after nearly two hours in the spotlight, the witness said:” We can do a few more .” He turned and smiled at his team and there was laugh in the public gallery.

Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal then almost devoted him cause to regret it. He challenged Facebook’s contention that Aleksandr Kogan, a Moldovan-born researcher from Cambridge University, deceived the company when he harvested user data. Blumenthal had what he claimed was a previously undisclosed 2014 words of service document that are specifically permitted Kogan to” sell, licence( by whatever means and on whatever terms) and archive your contribution and data “.

Blumenthal told:” We’ve seen the apology tours before. You have refused to acknowledge even an ethical violation to report this violation of the FTC consent decree. My reservation about your evidence today is that I don’t see how you can change your business model unless there are specific rules of the road. Your business model is to maximise earning over privacy .”

Several topics predominated the hearing, including the 2016 presidential election. Zuckerberg confirmed that Facebook officials have been interviewed by officials from the special advise Robert Mueller, who has been investigating Russia’s role in meddling in the 2016 election.” I know we are working with them ,” said Zuckerberg, acknowledging that “there may be” a subpoena but he was uncertain.

Regulation was also brought up repeatedly, including by the Republican senator Lindsey Graham, of South Carolina, who asked Zuckerberg whether Facebook was a monopoly.” It surely doesn’t feel like that to me ,” he responded, inspiring mirth in the public gallery. Graham pressed him on the issue of regulation. Zuckerberg said:” My position is not that there should be no regulation .”

Asked if Facebook would therefore embrace regulation, the CEO told:” If it’s the right regulation, then yes .” Graham:” Would you work with us ?” Zuckerberg: “Absolutely.”

Senator John Cornyn pushed him on whether Facebook is a neutral platform. Zuckerberg replied,” I agree that we are responsible for the content”- a significant concession that could open the style for Facebook to be held to the same legal standards as a traditional media company.

Zuckerberg will face a second grilling on Wednesday from the US House energy and commerce committee.

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Facebook reveals Russian troll content, shuts down 135 IRA accounts

Facebook is presenting an unprecedented level of transparency around its latest effort to suspend Russian trolls trying to influence elections and mislead the public as it tries to regain the trust of users and the government. The company shared both stats about the account deletions and samples of the content they shared.

Facebook has removed 70 Facebook accounts, 138 Facebook Pages, and 65 Instagram accounts run by the Russian government-connected troll farm and election interference squad the Internet Research Agency. Facebook chief security officer Alex Stamos quoth the IRA’s use of” inauthentic accounts to delude and manipulate people” as” why we don’t want them on Facebook. We removed this latest situated of Pages and accounts exclusively because they were controlled by the IRA — not based on the content .”

95 percent of the accounts operated in Russian and targeted Russia or Russian-speakers in nearby countries including Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan and Ukraine. 1.08 million users followed at the least one of the Facebook Pages, and 493,000 users followed at least one of the Instagram accounts. The accounts had expended a combined $167,000 on ads since the start of 2015.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote that since discovering the IRA’s election interference endeavours,” we have improved our techniques to prevent nation nations from interfering in foreign elections, and we’ve built more advanced AI tools to remove fake accounts more generally .” He went on to detail how Facebook is half-way to its promise to double its security and content review staff from 10,000 to 20,000 this year, with 15,000 now working on the efforts at Facebook.

” These attempts have all made it harder for nation states to interfere in foreign elections” Zuckerberg wrote on Facebook.” With today’s update, we have now identified a large network the IRA is using to manipulate people in Russia itself. This is the next step towards removing them from Facebook altogether .”

By detailing the particularities of its efforts rather than dragging its feet or waiting for government inquiries, Facebook may be able convince people it’s not asleep at the wheel of its social network.

Facebook at first said only 10 million users had assured ads bought by the IRA, but later explained that when organic un-paid posts were counted, 126 million people had considered the propaganda group’s Facebook posts and another 20 million had ensure its Instagram posts. Facebook previously shut down the IRA’s 170 Instagram accounts that had shared 120,000 pieces of propaganda and 120 Facebook Page that had shared 80,000 pieces of content.

The trickle of information and initial low-ball numbers made it seem like Facebook was trying to downplay the severity of platform abuse. But in recent weeks since the Cambridge Analytica scandal broke, Facebook has seemed increasingly transparent and receptive to criticism. It seems the convergence of bad news has truly shaken Facebook awake.

Make sure to visit: CapGeneration.com