"Congress is good at two things: doing nothing, and overreacting", Rep. Billy Long, a Republican representing Missouri, told Zuckerberg in a hearing Wednesday. "If Facebook is truly committed to protecting people's privacy, the company should set an example, by adhering to [the] highest data protection standards for all users". "We're getting ready to overreact".
Since the Cambridge Analytica scandal, there's been renewed attention to online privacy settings. Even Zuckerberg said regulation of his industry is "inevitable". However, it's hard to look like you're worth that much when you're literally sitting on a booster seat. Variations of this scam appeared at the top of my News Feed more times than I can remember, all from Pages that I do not follow. He continued: "I want to be careful here because our work with the special counsel is confidential and I want to make sure that in an open session I'm not revealing something that is confidential".
Other lawmakers were less clear about the need for new regulations.
Much of the effort was aimed at denigrating Democrat Hillary Clinton and thereby helping Republican Trump, or simply encouraging divisiveness and undercutting faith in the United States system.
Facebook's irresponsibility isn't merely an abuse of a personal relationship - what its chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, called "a breach of trust between Facebook and the people who share their data with us" - but also an abuse of a civic relationship.
But even in this hesitant camp, lawmakers showed a willingness to do just that. FaceMash was a prank website that I launched in college, in my dorm room, before I started Facebook. John Kennedy, R-La., told Zuckerberg in hour four of the hearing.
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Facebook has been consumed by turmoil for almost a month, since it came to light that millions of users' personal information was wrongly harvested from the website by Cambridge Analytica, a political consultancy that has counted US President Donald Trump's election campaign among its clients. The country also had more than 1 million Facebook users whose data may have been accessed by Cambridge Analytica.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies before a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing regarding the company's use and protection of user data on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., April 11, 2018.
"Yes or no", asked Sen.
The Facebook CEO recounted a list of steps aimed at averting improper use of data by third parties like Cambridge Analytica, and noted that other applications were also being investigated to determine if they did anything wrong. That's very true with Facebook.
Zuckerberg himself said regulation could hurt its smaller rivals.
Zuckerberg was answering a question from Rep Anna Eshoo, a Democrat from California, when he informed lawmakers about his personal data, a reference to the Cambridge Analytica scandal that has rocked his company over the past several weeks.
Instead, the more imminent regulatory threat to Facebook in the USA may not come from sweeping new bills in Congress, but from an old agreement with the FTC. They have already heard from the whistle-blower who brought the firm's data-gathering activity to light, Christopher Wylie.