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Zuckerberg appears before Congress & it wasn’t a good experience for him

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News Analysis |

Mark Zuckerberg, the chief of Facebook, apologized to US lawmakers on April 10, 2018, for the leak of personal data of millions of users. In his first-ever US congressional appearance, the Facebook chief executive sought to quell the storm over privacy and security lapses at the social network that have angered lawmakers and Facebook’s two billion users.

https://youtu.be/3YrmaQd90tw

 

During a five-hour testimony on Tuesday, the tech mogul said he was “sorry” about the Cambridge Analytica scandal, in which the private information of more than 87 million people was collected illegally. He was also asked about the alleged abuse of the social media platform by Russian groups to interfere in the 2016 US presidential elections.

Facebook has over 2.2 billion users worldwide. 44 million are in Pakistan. This is the first time that data mining and data brokerage has gained attention on multiple continents. The technology that allowed all this to happen developed rapidly and legislation has been slow to catch up.

The 33-year-old Facebook founder confirmed his company is “working with” a special counsel investigating the alleged meddling, while warning of an “arms race” against Russian efforts seeking to exploit social media.

Read more: Mark Zuckerberg apologizes for “breach of trust”

Cambridge Analytica got Facebook in Trouble

The reason why Cambridge Analytica has been under the spotlight and why Facebook is under investigation is not because data was used for political campaigning. That is not, strictly speaking, illegal. The issue is whether or not the data was stolen or “breached”. Andrew Bosworth, VP of AR/VR at Facebook, tweeted that this was unequivocally not a data breach.

He further explained that people chose to share their data with third-party apps and if those third-party apps don’t follow agreements made with Facebook, then that is a violation worth investigating. In other words, Facebook is not guilty of any wrongdoing since no password or information of any kind was ‘stolen’.

Cambridge Analytica violated terms of service agreement with Facebook. Eva, director of cyber-security at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, has also said that the word “breach” should not be used. The foundation defends civil liberties in the digital world.

In his first-ever US congressional appearance, the Facebook chief executive sought to quell the storm over privacy and security lapses at the social network that have angered lawmakers and Facebook’s two billion users.

There had been calls for Mark Zuckerburg to testify before Congress, and he did yesterday. The Federal Trade Commission in the United States is probing into Facebook’s data usage. The commission’s mandate is to protect American consumers. Several congressional committees may also launch inquiries. A privacy watchdog in Canada is also investigating the matter.

In the United Kingdom, MPs have summoned Zuckerburg to appear before a select committee investigating fake news. Damina Collins, the chairman of the committee, has written to Facebook inquiring whether the data was stolen without user consent.

Read more: Zuckerberg to face an angry Court

Facebook, valued at over $400 billion as of May 2017, saw its share plunge by 6.8% on Monday when the story first broke and 2.6% a day afterward. In other words, the tech giant has lost over $50 billion over the past couple of days.

On March 16th, Facebook announced that it will be suspending Strategic Communications Laboratories and its offshoot, Cambridge Analytica. Reportedly, a Facebook legal executive has briefed employees on the data leak.

Cambridge Analytica violated terms of service agreement with Facebook. Eva, director of cyber-security at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, has also said that the word “breach” should not be used. The foundation defends civil liberties in the digital world.

A personality prediction app that was downloaded by over 270,000 people scooped up the data from users and their friends. Usually, third-party apps ask for permission before taking account information. Most of the times, however, users tend to skip over the legal jargon and press on to using such applications.

Read more: Investigations begin for Facebook data scandal

Facebook has over 2.2 billion users worldwide. 44 million are in Pakistan. This is the first time that data mining and data brokerage has gained attention on multiple continents. The technology that allowed all this to happen developed rapidly and legislation has been slow to catch up. Perhaps, now is a good time to for deciding how, why and when massive amounts of data can be used.


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