In his first ever appearance before the Congress since he launched Facebook from the room of his Harvard dorm approximately 14 years ago, Mark Zuckerberg took the responsibility for how his social network has been improperly used for political means on Tuesday afternoon insisting that the company is now working to prevent future malfeasance.
The 33-year old Mark Zuckerberg appeared nervous as he took the stand before a rare joint hearing of the Senate Judiciary and the Commerce committees, which together comprises of nearly half of the members of the Senate on whole. Zuckerberg said that, It was my mistake, and I’m sorry, he also added that I started Facebook, I run it, and I am responsible for whatever happens here.
His appearance before the Congress was expected to last several hours was a dramatic culmination of months of controversies over how social networking site Facebook allowed its medium to be misused during the 2016 presidential election held.
Last year it was brought into light that the Russian actors relied on the platform of Facebook to foster political discord in the heat of the 2016 Presidential campaign, they made use of Facebook advertisements and pages to disseminate misinformation. Some weeks ago, the media outlets reported that The Cambridge Analytica which is a data-mining company having ties to the Trump campaign and other Republican entities acquired the private data of nearly 100 million of the site’s users from Facebook.
The 42 senators who sat on the joint committee were the mouthpiece for many of these questions on Tuesday and pressing Zuckerberg to answer how the company would rectify its past mistakes and how they as lawmakers should take steps to prevent such an incident from happening again.
Sen. John Thune who is the South Dakota Republican chairs the Senate’s commerce committee, said. “The company you have created represents the American dream and many are inspired by what you’ve done. But at the same time you have an obligation to make sure that dream does not become a privacy nightmare for the millions who make use of Facebook.”
“These kind of stories touch on the very foundation of the internet economy and the way these companies make money,” were the words of Sen. Orrin Hatch, a Utah Republican.
The lawmakers seemed unsatisfied by his explanations. Sen. Lindsey Graham, the South Carolina Republican said that, “What do we tell our constituents ? Given what has happened here, why we should let you self-regulate?”
To which Facebook founder replied, “My position is not that there should be no regulations, but I think that the real question as the internet becomes more important in people’s lives is what kind of regulation is appropriate.”