Rep. Mike Doyle to question Mark Zuckerberg about Facebook privacy concerns

by Tribune- Review

U.S. Rep. Mike Doyle, D-Forest Hills, will be among the members of Congress questioning Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg about the social media giant’s privacy policies and the company’s role protecting election security during a hearing set for Wednesday.

Doyle, the top-ranked Democrat on the House Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, was one of six members of Congress who signed a letter asking Zuckerberg to testify.

A spokesman for Doyle said the congressman plans to question Zuckerberg at the hearing but didn’t share specifics.

Zuckerberg’s appearance follows news that data-mining firm Cambridge Analytica, which did work for President Trump’s 2016 campaign, improperly accessed user data of 87 million Facebook users.

Doyle signed a letter March 23 requesting Zuckerberg testify at a hearing. The letter said the hearing would “examine the harvesting and sale of personal information from more than 50 million Facebook users, potentially without their notice or consent and in violation of Facebook policy,” along with broader questions about Facebook’s policies.

Zuckerberg apologized in prepared testimony , saying the company didn’t “take a broad enough view of (its) responsibility, and that was a big mistake”

He discussed steps the company has taken to prevent abuses by third parties with access to the data, such as app developers. The company will share less data openly and put tighter controls in place for those authorized to access the data, he said.

He also detailed steps the company is taking to protect election security.

In his testimony, Zuckerberg estimated that a Russian internet agency created at least 470 fake accounts that generated about 80,000 Facebook posts over a two-year period, showing the content to an estimated 126 million people. The agency also spent about $100,000 on Facebook and Instagram ads seen by an estimated 11 million people in the U.S., according to Zuckerberg’s testimony.

Moving forward, advertisers running political or issue-related ads will need to obtain authorization, he said.

Zuckerberg’s appearance is scheduled for 10 a.m. Wednesday before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. He is also scheduled to appear Tuesday before the Senate Committee on the Judiciary and the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation at 2:15 p.m.