Congress has plenty of questions for Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who will testify on Capitol Hill Tuesday and Wednesday about the company’s ongoing data-privacy scandal and how it failed to guard against other abuses of its service.
Facebook is struggling to cope with the worst privacy crisis in its history — allegations that a Trump-affiliated data mining firm may have used ill-gotten user data to try to influence elections. Zuckerberg and his company are in full damage-control mode, and have announced a number of piecemeal technical changes intended to address privacy issues.
But there’s plenty the Facebook CEO hasn’t yet explained. Here are five questions that could shed more light on Facebook’s privacy practices and the degree to which it is really sorry about playing fast and loose with user data — or just because its practices have drawn the spotlight.
QUESTION: You’ve said you should have acted years ago to protect user privacy and guard against other abuses. Was that solely a failure of your leadership, or did Facebook’s business model or other factors create an obstacle to change? How can you ensure that Facebook doesn’t make similar errors in the future?
CONTEXT: Zuckerberg controls 59.7 percent of the voting stock in Facebook. He is both chairman of the board and CEO. He can’t be fired, unless he fires himself. “At the end of the day, this is my responsibility,” he told reporters on a conference call last week. He also admitted to making a “huge mistake” in not taking a broad enough view of Facebook’s responsibility in the world.
Zuckerberg, however, has been apologizing for not doing better on privacy for 11 years . In the current crisis, neither he nor chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg have clarified exactly how Facebook developed such a huge blind spot, much less how it can prevent…