Friday 18 September, 2020

Facebook founder's data 'was included in breach'

(Image: AP: Mark Zuckerberg testifies to Congress on 10 April 2018)

(Image: AP: Mark Zuckerberg testifies to Congress on 10 April 2018)

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg told a US congressional oversight panel on Wednesday that regulation of the social media industry was "inevitable", as he revealed his own data was included in the personal information sold to malicious third parties.

"The internet is growing in importance around the world in people's lives and I think that it is inevitable that there will need to be some regulation," Zuckerberg said during testimony to the House Energy and Commerce Committee. "So my position is not that there should be no regulation but I also think that you have to be careful about regulation you put in place."

Larger, more dominant companies like Facebook have the resources to comply with government regulation, he said, but "that might be more difficult for a smaller start-up to comply with".

Lawmakers in both parties have floated possible regulation of Facebook and other tech companies amid privacy scandals and Russian intervention on the platform. It's not clear what that regulation would look like and Zuckerberg did not offer any specifics.

Zuckerberg was answering a question from Anna Eshoo, a California Democrat, when he informed lawmakers about his personal data, a reference to the Cambridge Analytica scandal that has rocked his company over the past several weeks.

Facebook has said that 87 million people's personal data was scooped up when some 270,000 users took a personality quiz, allowing not just their data but that of their friends to be accessed by an outside app. Cambridge Analytica then obtained this data and is said to have used it to try to influence elections around the world. It denies wrongdoing.

Amid the privacy scandal, Zuckerberg has been summoned to testify before Congress for two days.

On Tuesday he batted away often-aggressive questioning from members of the Senate Judiciary and Commerce committees who accused him of failing to protect the personal information of millions of Americans from Russians intent on upsetting the US election.

During roughly five hours of Senate questioning, Zuckerberg apologised several times for Facebook failures, disclosed that his company was "working with" special counsel Robert Mueller in the federal probe of Russian election interference and said it was working hard to change its own operations after the harvesting of users' private data by Cambridge Analytica.

Get the latest local and international news straight to your mobile phone for free: