Mark Zuckerberg testifies before Congress - KWES NewsWest 9 / Midland, Odessa, Big Spring, TX: newswest9.com |

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg finishes 2nd day of congressional testimony

(RNN) – Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrapped up his two-day trip to Capitol Hill with testimony before a House committee Wednesday.

Zuckerberg already faced tough questions during a joint Senate Judiciary and Commerce committee hearing Tuesday. He faced more from the House Committee on Energy and Commerce on Wednesday.

The reason for his DC visit: the revelation that political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica improperly obtained the data of 87 million Facebook users and mined it for President Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.

Facebook has faced significant backlash since the news broke of the data breach, with users going so far as organizing a Facebook boycott for Wednesday.

Company stocks also took a hit, though they surged 4.5 percent Tuesday, the biggest gain for Facebook shares in two years. Facebook stock rose 1.5 percent Wednesday.

Zuckerberg has made many public apologies over the last few weeks. In his opening statement for the congressional hearings, he again apologized for the data breach on behalf of his company.

"We didn’t take a broad enough view of our responsibility, and that was a big mistake,” Zuckerberg said. "It was my mistake, and I’m sorry. I started Facebook, I run it, and I’m responsible for what happens here."

He also mentioned the measures Facebook is taking to better protect user data, while also defending Facebook’s business model of using personal data to target ads.

"We think offering an ad-supported service is the most aligned with our mission to connect everyone in the world," Zuckerberg said. "We want to offer a free service that everyone can afford."

Once Zuckerberg finished his opening statement, it was lawmakers’ turn to ask questions. And so began five hours of often tense exchanges between 44 senators and the embattled tech CEO on Tuesday, with questions covering how Facebook collects data, the concept of online privacy, whether Facebook is a monopoly and Zuckerberg’s views on tech industry regulation.

He testified for five hours again Wednesday, facing occasionally aggressive questioning from members of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

Fifty-five Democratic and Republican lawmakers grilled Zuckerberg on how his company handles user data and Facebook's privacy policies.

They also pressed him on topics including drug sales on Facebook, supposed censorship of conservative voices on the platform, the concept of self-regulation in the tech world, and the Cambridge Analytica scandal, the reason for the congressional hearings in the first place.

The committee chairman, Rep. Greg Walden, R-OR, opened the hearing by saying that "while Facebook has certainly grown, I worry it has not matured."

Walden later opined: "I think it is time to ask whether Facebook may have moved too fast and broken too many things," possibly implying that regulation proposals could be on the table.

Zuckerberg later said regulation of internet companies was "inevitable," in response to a question from Rep. Fred Upton, R-MI.

"The internet is growing in importance around the world ... I think it is inevitable that there will need to be some regulation," Zuckerberg said. "My position is not that there should be no regulation, but I also think you need to be careful about what regulation you put in place."

Zuckerberg also addressed the issue of Facebook's competition. He claimed Facebook has "a lot of competition" with the many apps the average American uses daily to connect with other users.

Some lawmakers questioned Zuckerberg on specific proposals to regulate internet companies and protect user data.

Rep. Frank Pallone Jr., D-NJ, asked whether Facebook would change its default settings, to cut down on the collection of users' data.

"This is a complex issue that deserves more than a one word answer," Zuckerberg answered.

"That's disappointing to me," Pallone said.

Zuckerberg admitted that Facebook collects data from people who haven't even signed up for the platform "for security purposes."

He also revealed that his own personal data was sold to "malicious third parties," in response to a question from Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-CA.

Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-MI, scolded Zuckerberg for his failure to answer some of the committee members' questions.

"As CEO you didn't know some key facts," Dingell said.

Dingell then ran down a list of topics Zuckerberg had failed to address.

"You didn't know about major court cases regarding your privacy policies against your company. You didn't know that the FTC doesn't have fining authority and that Facebook could not have received fines for the 2011 consent order," Dingell said. "You didn't know what a shadow profile was. You didn't know how many apps you need to audit."

The exchanges between Zuckerberg and House members followed a tough hearing in the Senate on Tuesday.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-SC, asked Zuckerberg if he would be willing to offer his advice to lawmakers on regulations that might be necessary to his industry. Zuckerberg answered that he absolutely would.

Some senators openly expressed their displeasure with Facebook’s business history.

"We've seen the apology tours before," said Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-CT. "My reservation about your testimony today is I don't see how you can change your business model unless there are specific rules of the road ... enforced by an outside agency."

Sen. John Kennedy, R-LA, provided one of the more colorful comments during the hearing.

"Your user agreement sucks," Kennedy said. “It’s not to inform your users about their rights. I’m going to suggest to you that you go back home and rewrite it."

Zuckerberg fielded tough questions from Sen. Ted Cruz, R-TX, regarding alleged political biases on the part of Facebook.

He also revealed during his Senate testimony that Facebook has been cooperating with special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into possible collusion between the Russian government and members of the Trump campaign to sway the 2016 presidential election.

But after a long, testy hearing, Senate proceedings ended amicably enough, with Zuckerberg shaking hands with senators before he left:

Copyright 2018 Raycom News Network. All rights reserved.

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