Social Media reacts to Mark Zuckerberg’s hearing the best way it knows how… memes!
Timing! Senators Ed Markey, D-MA., and Richard Blumenthal, D-CT., have introduced a new bill that would force the Federal Trade Commission to create privacy rules to be enforced on big tech companies.
“America deserves a privacy bill of rights that puts consumers, not corporations, in control of their personal, sensitive information,” Markey said in a statement.
Donald Trump Jr. was the first Trump family member to tweet a reaction to the hearing today. No surprise here, it was about bias on the platform.
President Trump has yet to tweet on this since Zuckerberg’s hearing began a little over two hours ago.
Zuckerberg comes back from break with a correction on his previous answer as to why Facebook didn’t kick Cambridge Analytica off its platform. He said that his team told him that Cambridge Analytica was on the platform as an advertiser in 2015, contrary to his initial answer.
Under the most intense questioning of the day so far, Zuckerberg told Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, that the company didn’t make decisions about content or personnel based on political preferences.
Many Americans are “deeply concerned” that Facebook engaged in a “pattern of bias and political censorship” in recent years, Cruz said. He listed the Conservative Political Action Conference, a House Republican investigation into the IRS and Glenn Beck, a conservative media personality who was among Cruz’s most high-profile supporters, as victims of potential bias at Facebook.
Zuckerberg said there was no such effort to harm conservatives and also rebuffed Cruz’s suggestion that a Facebook employee might have been fired over political differences with the company’s leadership. Facebook’s political action committee gave Cruz $3,500 in the 2012 election cycle but has not donated to him since.
The exchange stood out in large part because many of the other senators seemed reluctant to go after the Facebook founder.
Micah Grimes, head of social here at NBC News, noticed that Mark Zuckerberg’s testimony has cracked into Facebooks’ trending topics.
Senator Klobuchar asked Zuckerberg whether Cambridge Analytica and the Russian disinformation campaign run out of Saint Petersburg’s Internet Research Agency (IRA) many have been targeting the same users.
“We’re investigating that now. We believe that it is entirely possible that there will be a connection there,” Zuckerberg answered.
Facebook estimates that 126 million people were exposed to IRA content on its platform while 87 million of its users’ data was swept up by Cambridge Analytica, but this is the first suggestion by the company that there may be a link between the two.
As MSNBC’s Chris Hayes explains…”Total Information Awareness was the brainchild of John Poindexter, the Reagan administration official who got his conviction in the Iran-Contra scandal overturned on appeal. At the time, it was designed to be a sweeping new electronic data-mining program, to access all sorts of digital information from just about anywhere.”
This is quite a statement from Mark Zuckerberg: “I agree that we are responsible for the content.”
Facebook, like many online platforms, have for years clung to the notion of “safe harbor” — that tech platforms are most definitely NOT responsible for what’s on their platform.
Zuckerberg contradicting that is no small thing — and something that could mean big changes for Facebook and other major tech companies it safe harbor becomes a thing of the past.
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