Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook made his appearance before the Congress. The session concluded with five hours of hearing before a combined session of the commerce and judiciary committees. Throughout the conference, Zuckerberg remained calmed and handled the questions politely. Senators were very keen to understand the loopholes that left the data of 87 million people in the hands of the political firm, Cambridge Analytica.
Zuckerberg repeatedly kept referring to the advancements Facebook has been making to tackle their current situation. He mentioned Facebook has now made it easy to find the privacy settings and restricted the amount of data it shares with developers. He further added the labelling of political ads and making them publicly available for inspection.
During the course of questions and answers, Zuckerberg did not rule out the possibility of a paid version of Facebook. He said that there will always be a free version of Facebook, thus hinting we might see a paid version too. The CEO answered a number of questions about the company’s business model. Senators asked about how Facebook is going to protect user’s privacy, given the fact Facebook relies so much on collecting data about users.
Zuckerberg also used the term AI in many of his answers. The CEO mentioned the power of AI in the future. The company seeks to get help from machine learning to make the platform better. It’s certain that AI will help Facebook improve its efforts to rule out abuse and fake news from the platform. Work is still going on the processes and is expected to bring a few changes, at least.
Zuckerberg completely dismissed the idea that Facebook listens to users in real time through your phone’s microphone. Facebook’s ad targeting platform is so strong that it gives rise to such conspiracy theories. Senator Gary Peters (D-MI) asked Zuckerberg “Yes or no, does Facebook use audio obtained from mobile devices to enrich personal information about users?”. “No,” Zuckerberg said. Thus he completely dismissed the idea with a one-word answer. Well, we hope Facebook makes its platform secure and keep users data private. Facebook is currently a monopoly in its game with no other proper alternative to Facebook.