The world learned a few new things during Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s second day of congressional testimony on Wednesday. One, Zuckerberg revealed he was among the 87 million Facebook users whose data was improperly accessed by the political consultancy Cambridge Analytica. And, two, Wall Street investors feel pretty positive about both Zuckerberg’s performance and Facebook’s continued business prospects.
After five hours of answering questions before a joint Senate committee hearing Tuesday, the social media giant co-founder spent another five hours yesterday being grilled by the House Energy and Commerce Committee. A number of observers described yesterday’s session as tougher than the previous day’s, but that didn’t seem to hurt Facebook’s stock value, which ended the day higher than it started.
Zuckerberg spent the past two days in Washington, D.C., following ongoing revelations about the role his platform played in manipulating and misleading voters ahead of the 2016 U.S. presidential election, as well as its use by bad actors spreading hate speech and fake news. At the center of much of the questioning he faced was Cambridge Analytica, the U.K.-based firm that worked for President Donald Trump’s campaign, during which that company reportedly misused the personal information of millions of Facebook users.
A ‘Superstructure for Political Discourse’
Zuckerberg began his testimony yesterday in much the same way he did during Tuesday’s appearance before a joint meeting of the Senate Judiciary Committee and Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee. He described Facebook as an “idealistic and optimistic company . . . focused on all the good that connecting people can bring.” He also acknowledged that in the past his platform has not done enough to prevent “fake news, foreign interference in elections and hate speech,” and apologized, taking personal responsibility for those failures.
Since the 2016 election, Facebook has made a number of…