Facebook stock rebounded overnight as Mark Zuckerberg, the founder and CEO of social media behemoth, took full responsibility for the theft of millions of Facebook users' data as he gave testimony on Tuesday to Congress, vowing to strengthen privacy settings and the fight against hate speech and fake news.
Zuckerberg admitted that since he is in charge of the online platform, it was his mistake that users' data was misused.
“My main priority has always been to connect people, our social mission, to create a community and unite the world. Advertisers and developers will never be a priority over that while I'm in charge of Facebook.”
The CEO also said on the meddling of Russia in the 2016 US presidential elections that “there are people in Russia whose job is to try and exploit our systems and interfere in elections around the world, this means there's going to be an ongoing conflict”. He also revealed his company had been contacted by special counsel Robert Mueller's team investigating Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election.
He added that Facebook was facing an arms race with Russia. “They keep getting better and we have to get better too.”
Zuckerberg also vowed to improve their privacy settings and be more careful to avoid cases like the Cambridge Analytica scandal happening again.
Facebook will, he said look into “tens of thousands” of apps that are hosted on the social network to check which others have used data improperly.
“We believe that we're going to be investigating many apps – tens of thousands of apps – and if we find any suspicious activity, we're going to conduct a full audit of those apps to understand how they're using their data if they're doing anything improper,” he said. “And if we find that they're doing anything improper, we'll ban them from Facebook and we will tell everyone affected.”
Still, he refused to consider a paid option for Facebook where users were free from advertising and their information could not be collected.
Democrat Senator Amy Klobuchar said she had already heard many of Zuckerberg's points. “We're going to have to do privacy legislation now,” she said.
Meanwhile, in the UK, the Lords Communications Committee published a report 'UK advertising in a digital age', recommending the online ad industry “should take greater steps to self-regulate through independent bodies”.
The committee also called for the Competition and Markets Authority should undertake a market study of the digital advertising market “to ensure that it is working fairly for businesses and consumers” and the Government to review whether competition law is appropriate for the 21st century digital economy.