Zuckerberg Apologizes for Data Breach Before Congressional Testimony

Ahead of the two hearings, Facebook - reeling from negative news stories about alleged misuse of its platform - has unveiled a flurry of fixes and has even intimated that it could live with some form of regulation, something the company has fought against for years.

Embattled Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg on Monday placed the blame for security lapses at the world's largest social network squarely on himself, as he girded for appearances this week before angry lawmakers.

Facebook Inc Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg swapped his trademark T-shirt and jeans for a dark suit and a purple tie on Monday as he met USA lawmakers to apologize for the social network's misuse of its members' data and to head off possible regulation. "It was my mistake, and Im sorry", Zuckerberg said in his written testimony released by a House of Representatives panel. "With all of the data exchanged over Facebook and other platforms, users deserve to know how their information is shared and secured", he said. In the remarks, Zuckerberg said his company has a responsibility to make sure what happened with Cambridge Analytica doesn't happen again.

Last month, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg promised to "show everyone a tool at the top of your News Feed with the apps you've used and an easy way to revoke those apps' permissions to your data". "That goes for fake news, foreign interference in elections, hate speech-we didn't take a broad enough view of what our responsibility is, and that was a huge mistake". Mr. Zuckerberg is nearly sure to be asked why it took a whistleblower to reveal the problem.

The social media giant is also empowering all its users to shut off third-party access to their apps and is setting up cyber "firewalls" to ensure that users' data is not unwittingly transmitted by others in their social network.

"If we detect suspicious activity, we'll do a full forensic audit".

Facebook has been in troubled waters ever since the Cambridge Analytica's data breach has been reported. "I think he understands that regulation could be right around the corner", Nelson said.

It says it received data on 30 million users but never used that information in the 2016 campaign.

"There's nothing you can do today except for not share as much as you normally would or delete your whole Facebook profile and say bye, bye Facebook", said Sjouwerman.

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While about 70 million of the users affected by the data breach are located in the United States, around 300,000 Australians are also believed to have been embroiled in the scandal.

Facebook also said Monday it would give certain academic researchers access to its privacy-protected data sets to study social media's role in elections as part of a new initiative with non-profit organizations including the Knight Foundation, Democracy Fund and the Laura and John Arnold Foundation.

On Friday, Facebook sought to quell some concerns over political manipulation of its platform by announcing support for the "Honest Ads Act" that requires election ad buyers to be identified, and to go further with verification of sponsors of ads on key public policy issues.

Zuckerberg is also expected to be asked about Russia's use of USA social media during the 2016 elections - a subject of several congressional investigations and special counsel Robert Mueller's probe into Russian interference.

SANDBERG: We still don't know.

Over the weekend, Facebook announced that it had suspended AggregateIQ (AIQ), a Canada-based data-mining firm used by the official pro-Brexit campaign group, Vote Leave.

The White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said the administration is looking forward to his testimony.

"Our goals are to understand Facebook's impact on upcoming elections - like Brazil, India, Mexico and the U.S. midterms - and to inform our future product and policy decisions", Facebook executives said in a blog post. Recently, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission established agreements with Google and Twitter that are helping to shape new privacy standards for our industry.

That's a lot of harm that Facebook can never truly fix.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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