Mark Zuckerberg left more questions than answers when facing the EU Parliament
Son Ha Tran
Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg literally repeated what he said at the U.S. Senate hearing with very little new information while answering questions from the European Parliament.
The 34-year-old CEO was in Brussels Tuesday and addressed his formal apology to European lawmakers as well as clarified some of the unsolved problems brought up by the massive Facebook data leaks in March.
Zuckerberg, in the first 40 minutes of the hearing, was grilled with questions about Facebook’s policy on protecting users’ personal information and the alleged meddlesome with the U.S. presidential election.
The multibillionaire admitted his platform was used for destructive purposes.
“It also becomes clear that in the last couple years that we haven’t done enough to prevent these tools from being used for harm,” Zuckerberg said. “That goes for fake news, foreign interference and elections and developer’s misusing users’ information.”
“It was a mistake and I’m sorry for it,” he said.
Along with more promises on upgrading the security system and preventing users’ data from leaking in the future, Zuckerberg pledged to change how Facebook will handle users’ data from being misused by third parties.
He said a function that allows users to wipe out their activity logs on Facebook is being developed and it would stop apps from getting users’ browsing history and keeping track of online activities.
Andrew Selepak, director of the Master of Arts in Mass Communication Program with a specialization in social media at the University of Florida, said Facebook has grown so big that it’s nearly impossible to regulate.
“When we talk about Facebook, it’s not just that simple platform we normally use,” Selepak said. “We have to include Instagram, Snapchat, and hundreds of other platforms and programs they had bought because they have the capital to do so.”
“We have to admit that Facebook has a customer base that is larger than any company in the world,” he said.
Selepak was skeptical when hearing about Zuckerberg’s repetitive apologies and promises and claimed that things were not going to change at all.
It was not very difficult for any foreign individuals or groups to tamper with the U.S. elections, the Brexit vote, using Facebook, he said.
“That’s just too much content that being passed around Facebook and technically you have to employ millions of people just to censor all kinds of things appearing on Facebook,” Selepak said. “And that’s not going to happen.”
Selepak said as long as Zuckerberg’s business model keep earning him billions of dollars, nothing is going to change and Zuckerberg could possibly keep apologizing and promising and waiting for the next scandal to come.
At the end of his appearance, he spent 25 minutes to answer some of the questions raised by EU Parliament members, but completely ignored a bunch of questions and left some politicians furious.
“I asked you six yes-and-no questions, and I got not a single answer,” said Guy Verhofstadt, a Belgian politician.
President of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani promised all the questions would be answered in the next few days and guaranteed Zuckerberg would provide answers.