Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg faced two days of questioning before U.S. Congress.
On the first day, he faced Senate committees, addressing concerns regarding user data privacy.
New Top Priority
Facebook chief exec, Mark Zuckerberg stated that the United States is currently involved in an online propaganda “arms race” with Russia. At the same time, he stated that his new top priority would be to combat interference in elections worldwide.
The billionaire faced Senate committees on the first day of his testimony and a House committee for his second day. The first day lasted almost five hours. Many in the tech industry believed those two days between congress and the 33 year old would be a day of online reckoning.
It was, after all, a response to the massive Cambridge Analytica scandal. In that scandal, the firm used dubious means to collect the private data of as many as 87 million Facebook users, including Zuckerberg, said the CEO.
While being questioned by Senator Tom Udall (New Mexico), Zuckerberg stated that “The most important thing I care about right now is making sure no one interferes in the various 2018 elections around the world.” This statement was interesting both in that it revealed the company’s intentions moving forward but also that it reveals Facebook’s tremendous influence and reach.
That said, when the senator asked if Zuckerberg could guarantee that altered propaganda images such as those circulated by Russian operatives during the most recent U.S. presidential election would be guaranteed to stop, Zuckerberg said they could not.
“Senator, no, I can’t guarantee that because this is an ongoing arms race,” explained Zuckerberg. “As long as there are people sitting in Russia whose job it is to try and interfere with elections around the world, this is going to be an ongoing conflict.”
During the first day of the hearings, near the start, Zuckerberg confessed that “one of my greatest regrets in running the company,” was that they were not fast enough to identify and stop the Russian troll disinformation campaigns that occurred throughout the U.S. presidential election in 2016.