As Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies before Congress for the first time, experts are watching to see what the repercussions will be for Facebook, the tech industry, democracy and the world at large.
About a week after Facebook announced that the political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica acquired data of up to 87 million users, Zuckerberg answered questions from lawmakers on Capitol Hill pertaining to Facebook’s failures to protect its users’ privacy.
Zuckerberg personally took the blame for the company’s missteps, according to his prepared remarks. He addressed the Cambridge Analytica scandal, the company’s ties to Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and the steps that Facebook will take to better protect user privacy as a result. Overall, he promised to protect Facebook’s user-driven “social mission,” stating, “Advertisers and developers will never take priority over that as long as I’m running Facebook.”
Commentators scrutinized Zuckerberg’s appearance from many angles — what he wore (and what he sat on), what the moment means for the culture of Silicon Valley and what role Facebook will play in democracy and the world from now on. Multiple sources noted the repentant tone of his remarks but, as The Washington Post pointed out, Zuckerberg’s apologies may have less impact because of how many times he has apologized for breaches of user privacy in the past.
Read Zuckerberg’s full prepared remarks here.