I understand the importance of Indian polls, will ensure integrity is protected: Zuckerberg
Washington :Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg apologised publicly for the social network’s misuse of its members’ data during a congressional hearing and said he will ensure his company was not used for interfering in the upcoming elections in the US, India, Brazil and other countries.
Testifying at a joint hearing of US senate’s judiciary and commerce committees that lasted around five hours, Zuckerberg sounded contrite about mistakes, owning up to them personally, as he sought to assure lawmakers, some of whom appeared clearly sceptical, they won’t be repeated.
“We didn’t take a broad enough view of our responsibility, and that was a big mistake. It was my mistake, and I’m sorry. I started Facebook, I run it, and I’m responsible for what happens here,” the 33-year-old said.
Zuckerberg addressed questions raised on a broad range of issues from its use of personal data from subscribers in the light of the Cambridge Analytica privacy scandal, manipulation of media network by Russians to interfere in the 2016 elections, to the sheer size of the company and the need for regulation.
“The most important thing that I care about right now is making sure that no one interferes in the various 2018 elections around the world,” Zuckerberg said in reply to question about the fallout from the Cambridge Analytica data breach scandal and how Facebook planned to prevent a repeat.
“We have an extremely important US mid-term, we have major elections in India, Brazil, Mexico, Pakistan, Hungary coming up,” he said referring to mid-term Congressional elections in November in the US and general elections in India due in 2019.
Zuckerberg made that point about protecting the integrity of elections around the world — repeating the list of India, Brazil, Mexico, Pakistan and Hungary — twice during the testimony, stressing the global nature of his company.
Most of Facebook’s two billion users, he reminded a senator, were outside the US. There are 217 million users in India.
The social media giant has been battling its worst crisis yet after it was reported in March that Cambridge Analytica, a London-based political consultancy, had used personal data of Facebook subscribers inappropriately harvested and sold to it by Aleksandr Kogan, an app developer, for the Trump campaign.
Facebook said data of some 50 million users had been used by the firm but subsequently revised that number to 87 million, most of whom were in the US. It also admitted for the first time that 562,455 users from India were among those impacted.