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“Soon they will ask to install a printer”: Zuckerberg was not asked the main questions because of ignorance of how the Internet works

Journalists mocked the technical “wariness” of the Congress, comparable to the words of State Duma deputies about the encryption keys Telegram.

Mark Zuckerberg at the hearing. Getty Images

Mark Zuckerberg gave more than five hours of testimony to the committees of the US Congress, but this obviously was not enough. For all the hearings, Facebook founder was not asked many pressing questions about the recent scandals: the leakage of personal data of millions of social network users and the possible interference of Russia in the American elections via Facebook.

This is due to the fact that many senators appeared “unedged” in technical issues and caused journalists to feel that they do not understand the principles of Facebook’s work. To some extent, this could recall the explanations ofRussian State Duma deputies about what encryption keys are.

About what all the same told Zuckerberg

The hearings of the legal committee of the US Senate and the Senate Committee on Trade looked like this: Zuckerberg was asked in turn by 44 committee members, each of whom was given five minutes each. As the hearings, as always, were opened, those willing to line up in line with the audience.

Zuckerberg repeated his testimony in his first word . He found scandals around Facebook his personal and big mistake , and also promised to check tens of thousands of suspicious applications to find out if they did not get access to personal data as the agency Cambridge Analytica.

The head of Facebook hinted that it would simplify the confidentiality agreement, because it became “very confusing”. He stressed: social network does not sell personal data to advertisers , but only uses targeting and shows ads to “the right people.”

Facebook too late recognized the threat from the Russian “troll factory” and intends to correct the attitude to “information operations”, said Zuckerberg. Facebook staff are leading an “arms race” with factions that are sponsored by Russia and with the help of the social network affect the elections and public opinion, he added.

How they mocked the senators

Profile journalists were disappointed in the outcome of the hearings, since in the five-hour conversation between Zuckerberg and parliamentarians, no sensations or especially noteworthy statements were born.

“How many millions of dollars of productive time have been spent by people sitting around and waiting, while Tsuk shies away from weak questions?”


“Senator: If I write an email (?) To someone through WhatsApp, can Facebook see this? // Zuckerberg: Senator, no, chats in WhatsApp are encrypted, we can not see anything from there. // Senator: Yes, but if I write to someone about the “Black Panther in WhatsApp, will it be advertised to me on Facebook?” // Zuckerberg: No »
Apotheosis was the question of the senator about how Facebook earns, if users use it for free. Zuckerberg after a few seconds of silence replied: “On advertising.”


According to journalists, the senators were close to asking Zuckerberg to help with Internet issues and modern technologies, often even the simplest ones.


“Mark Zuckerberg is now experiencing the worst nightmare of every young man: trying to explain to older people how technology works”


“Zuckerberg: I’m ready to answer any questions about Facebook that you can have.” 84-year-old senator: Well, Mr. Zuckerberg, I need more pigs in the FarmVille game, but I do not know where to buy them. ”


“Senator Nelson is two minutes from asking Zuckerberg for help with installing an office printer”

“Mr. Zuckerberg, I wanted to ask you such a question. How do I add a circle around the letter “a” to type an email address? ”

“Mr. Zuckerberg, can you get Snapchat back [referring to the recent redesign ]? My granddaughter does not stop complaining. By the way, what is Snapchat? “

“Mr. Zuckerberg, I recently opened a magazine with a floppy disk that contained 30 free hours of something called America On-Line ( AOL ). Is it the same as Facebook? ”

“Almost sorry for Zuckerberg. There’s no way he’ll leave this audience full of old people, without having to help them with Wi-Fi setup. “

What questions remained with Zuckerberg

American journalists considered the Congress’s failed attempt to hold hearings with Zuckerberg. CNN noted that lawmakers often did not understand Facebook. “At a time when the country needed a smart conversation about the inviolability of private life, we received incoherent questions and setbacks when asking questions,” the channel said.

One of the questions was: “Mr. Zuckerberg, are you ready to allow me to delete my data from a Facebook page or transfer it to another media platform?” Zuckerberg replied that users already have these opportunities.

The edition of Wired formulated four questions, suggesting senators use them the next time.

  • How exactly does Facebook monitor the movement of users when they are outside the social network?

At the hearing, the senator asked Zuckerberg if he could confirm that Facebook was monitoring user activity, even when he did not use it . The founder of the social network evaded the direct answer, although he admitted that he “knows about the use of cookies, because of which it is possible to correlate activity between sessions.”

  • Does Facebook behave in a way that violates antitrust laws?

At Zuckerberg’s hearings several times asked to recognize Facebook’s monopoly, offered to name its competitors or find a viable alternative for those who were bored with social networking. Zuckerberg replied that a typical American uses, on average, eight communications applications. As noted by Wired, three of them owns Facebook – Instagram, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger.

It would be more interesting to ask Zuckerberg about specific cases like copying Snapchat functions or the proposal to install a free Onavo Protect VPN client, which allows you to see what users are doing outside the social network.

  • Not a question, but a suggestion: take out the laptop and ask Zuckerberg to personally go from Facebook’s main page to changes in privacy settings.

Journalists predicted that such a reception at the hearings would lead to a “dramatic effect.” While these settings are difficult to find: a senator without the help of Zuckerberg might not have met the five minutes.

  • What are Facebook’s priorities when it comes to processing user data, and situations in which users have already suffered?

At the hearing, Zuckerberg remembered the memorandum of Facebook manager Andrew Bozvorta, who recommended that employees use any methods to increase the audience and “link people around the world.” The founder of the social network noted that, like many of his subordinates, he does not agree with the statements of Bozvort. According to journalists, it would be appropriate to ask Zuckerberg about cases when the company’s “obsession with growth” had a bad effect on users.

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