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US lawmakers to probe Zuckerberg over Facebook data-privacy contension

#FB comes up with stricter rules for political ads (Damage Ads Act) or Implementation of - The Honest Ads Act





This week, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified before members of Congress, splitting his visit into two days of questioning. There were expected queries regarding the Cambridge Analytica data breach scandal, about whether Facebook has grown too large and could be considered a monopoly, and how to better regulate the platform, as a firestorm rocks over its data privacy scandal, with pressure mounting for new regulations on social media platforms.


Less expected were the weird and somewhat rambling moments throughout the combined 12 hours of testimony, as members of Congress grappled with the legitimately complicated technology they were questioning. At times, lawmakers relied on slightly clunky metaphors, revealing anecdotes, and corny jokes. The 33-year-old chief executive is expected to face a grilling before a Senate panel , and follow up with an appearance in the House of Representatives the following days.


Before launching into his question, Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) invoked his love of chocolate. “I’m communicating with my friends on Facebook, and indicate that I love a certain kind of chocolate. And, all of a sudden, I start receiving advertisements for chocolate. What if I don’t want to receive those commercial advertisements?”


US lawmakers to probe Zuckerberg over Facebook data-privacy contension

Stanford Analytica is PALANTIR :  


Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) tried to coin a new nickname for Palantir. Cantwell told Zuckerberg that Palantir, a data analysis company founded by Peter Thiel, is sometimes referred to as “Stanford Analytica.” She asked him, “Do you agree?”


“Senator, I have not heard that,” he replied after an awkward few seconds of silence.


Cantwell was making a sideways reference to Cambridge Analytica, the firm that misappropriated user data from Facebook through a personality quiz. But the parallel between the two is vague, and the joke didn’t quite land.


Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) used his few minutes with Zuckerberg to figure out whether Facebook will always be free to use. But it was his delivery that made viewers question 


whether he understood how Facebook operates and generates revenue. “So, how do you sustain a business model in which users don’t pay for your service?”




“Senator, we run ads,” Zuckerberg responded, before breaking into a tiny smirk.


“I see,” Hatch replied. “That’s great.”

US lawmakers to probe Zuckerberg over Facebook data-privacy contension



Several senators tried to take advantage of having an audience with Facebook’s CEO. “My son Charlie, who’s 13, is dedicated to Instagram, so he’d want to be sure I mention him while I was here with you,” said Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO).


“I’ve got 4,900 friends on my Facebook page. I delete the haters and save room for family members and true friends on my personal page,” Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) told Zuckerberg. 


“I’m a proud member of Facebook, just got a post from my sister on this being National Sibling Day.”


Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) asked Zuckerberg to bring some fiber the next time he visited rural West Virginia. She clarified that some rural areas of her state lacked good internet connectivity. The request created an opening for Zuckerberg to reference his Free Basics internet initiative, turning the session into an unexpected marketing opportunity. On the second day of Zuckerberg’s testimony, several congressmen jumped on the same wagon, asking the CEO to get in touch with them to bring similar opportunities to their districts.

US lawmakers to probe Zuckerberg over Facebook data-privacy contension

It comes amid a raft of inquiries on both sides of the Atlantic following disclosures that data on 87 million users was hijacked and improperly shared with Cambridge Analytica, a British political consultancy working for Donald Trumps presidential campaign. Yesterday, Facebook said it had suspended another data analysis firm, US-based Cubeyou, after CNBC reported it used Facebook user information — harvested from psychological testing apps, as in the case of Cambridge Analytica — for commercial purposes.


“If they refuse or fail our audit, their apps will be banned from Facebook.” Lawmakers, meanwhile, have signaled they intend to get tough on Facebook and other online services over privacy.


It's time FB users regained control over their personal information :


A day of reckoning is coming for websites like @facebook, Democratic Senator Ed Markey wrote on Twitter Friday.


“We need a privacy bill of rights that all Americans can rely upon.” Representative Ro Khanna, a California Democrat, agreed that legislation is needed “to protect Americans’ dignity and privacy from bad faith actors like Cambridge Analytica, who use social media data to manipulate people.” Khanna tweeted that “self-regulation will not work. Congress must act in the public interest to protect consumers and citizens.” Several lawmakers and activists believe the United States should follow the lead of Europe’s data protection law set to be implemented in May, which has strict terms for notification and sharing of personal data online. Zuckerberg told reporters Facebook would follow the European rules worldwide, although cautioned that its implementation may not be “exactly the same format” for various countries and regions. Facebook meanwhile announced Friday it will require political ads on its platform to state who is paying for the message and would verify the identity of the payer, in a bid to curb outside election interference.The change is meant to avoid a repeat of the manipulation efforts by Russian-sponsored entities which sought to foment discord in 2016, and also responds to criticism about anonymous messages based on Facebook profile data.


Zuckerberg said the change will mean “we will hire thousands of more people” to get the new system in place ahead of US midterm elections in November.“Were starting this in the US and expanding to the rest of the world in the coming months,” Zuckerberg said on his Facebook page. “These steps by themselves wont stop all people trying to game the system. But they will make it a lot harder for anyone to do what the Russians did during the 2016 election and use fake accounts and pages to run ads.” Zuckerberg said Facebook is now endorsing the “Honest Ads Act,” a bill that would require disclosure of the sources of online political ads.


“Election interference is a problem that’s bigger than any one platform, and that’s why we support the Honest Ads Act,” he said. “This will help raise the bar for all political advertising online.” Some activists say Facebook needs to do more to guard against manipulation and deception on the platform.Facebook “should really be turning their attention not only to election ads but to all ads,” said Harlan Yu of the technology and social justice nonprofit group Upturn.


“They should disclose to the public a detailed accounting of all the bad ads they’re taking down,” Yu told a forum Thursday at the New America Foundation.

US lawmakers to probe Zuckerberg over Facebook data-privacy contension

Facebook is also likely to face questions on whether it violated a 2011 agreement with the US Federal Trade Commission. Activists have alleged the social network failed to live up to promises to protect privacy.


David Vladeck, a Georgetown University law professor who headed the FTCs enforcement division when the Facebook deal was negotiated, called the latest incident a “major breach” of the court-supervised settlement.


FB comes up with stricter rules for political ads (Damage Ads Act) or Implementation of - The Honest Ads Act ?


“Facebook is now a serial offender,” Vladeck said in a Harvard Law Review blog post.


But Vladeck noted that a major problem with Facebook’s privacy woes comes from its failure to get written contracts and guarantees with third parties such as app developers.


“It seems that Facebook made no effort to establish the (credential) of developers, much less verify or audit what user data app developers actually harvested and shared,” Vladeck said.


Some analysts fear that Zuckerberg’s appearance on Capitol Hill will be little more than a public relations exercise.“Zuckerberg’s dance before Congress will be delicate, and Ill bet that even a brainiac like him will have a damp shirt under his very nice suit coat not long into it,” said Roger Kay, an analyst and consultant with Endpoint Technologies Associates.“But in the end, hell agree to some meaningless adjustments to how Facebook operates just to get out of there in one piece.” 


Beginning from the US, Honest Ads Act will be expanded worldwide in the coming months.


"These steps by themselves won't stop all people trying to game the system. But they will make it a lot harder for anyone to do what the Russians did during the 2016 election and use fake accounts and pages to run ads," Zuckerberg said on his Facebook page.


Tags: #probeZuckerbergoverFacebookdataprivacy, #DeleteFacebook, #CambridgeAnalytica, #ZuckerbergOverFacebookData, #DamageAdsAct, #HonestAdsAct, varindia, 

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