FACEBOOK chief Mark Zuckerberg( 朱克伯格) accepted personal responsibility for the leak of data on tens of millions of its users while warning of an “arms race” against Russian disinformation during a high-stakes hearing with US lawmakers.
In his first formal congressional appearance, the Facebook founder and chief executive answered questions for nearly five hours as he sought to quell the storm over privacy and security lapses at the social media giant that has angered lawmakers and the network’s two billion users.
Under mounting pressure over the hijacking of its user data by a British political consultant, Zuckerberg reiterated his apology for the historic breach, before being grilled over how Facebook collects and protects people’s personal information.
“It was my mistake, and I’m sorry,” Zuckerberg said about the improper sharing of 87 million people’s information by Cambridge Analytica (劍橋分析), a firm that worked for Donald Trump (特朗普) during the 2016 presidential campaign.
He added that Facebook fell short in protecting the platform, noting: “That goes for fake news, foreign interference in elections and hate speech, as well as developers and data privacy.”
The 33-year-old spoke of a constant struggle to guard against Russian manipulation of the Facebook platform to influence elections in the United States and elsewhere.
“There are people in Russia (俄羅斯) whose job is to try to exploit our systems and other internet systems and other systems as well,” he said. “So this is an arms race. They’re going to keep getting better and we need to invest in getting better at this too.”
The Senate (參議院) hearing, ahead of another appearance in the House (眾議院), featured several tense and some friendly exchanges on Facebook’s security, hate speech and other topics.
Zuckerberg said he was open to regulation, but cautioned against complex rules that might impact emerging social media firms.
However, his show of contrition fell short for several lawmakers.
“We’ve seen the apology tours before,” Senator Richard Blumenthal (布魯蒙索) of Connecticut (康乃狄克州) told Zuckerberg.
Zuckerberg also revealed that Facebook is cooperating with the US special prosecutor investigating Russian interference in the 2016 vote.
Asked whether Facebook would implement outside Europe the specific GDPR (通用資料保護規則) standard that allows people to opt out of the use of their data for direct marketing, Zuckerberg resisted any commitment.
The billionaire Facebook founder was challenged more directly by Democratic Representative Anna Eshoo (埃斯): “Are you willing to change your business model in the interest of protecting personal privacy?”
“Congresswoman, I’m not sure what that means,” he replied.
(This article is published on Student Standard on 20 April 2018)