Tech Thursday: 6 things you need to know about the Facebook hearing

Zuckerberg sat in the hot seat in front of the U.S Senate with cameras surrounding him. The hearing was meant to hold Zuckerberg accountable for actions by Facebook that allowed people’s data to be harvested by Cambridge Analytica.

The data harvesting scandal  took a new turn after the company’s chief technology officer, Mike Schroepfer, published a blogpost detailing what changes Facebook was making to better protect user information. There they revealed that more people’s data was compromised. The hearing was meant to pose questions on how to regulate Facebook.

An estimated 59 777 South Africans were also affected by the data breach.

Here is what you need to know about the hearing:

1. South Africans are also affected by the data breach

A Facebook spokesperson said 33 users in South Africa downloaded a personality quiz app created by Aleksandr Kogan who scraped the data of all their friends as well. 59,777 were friends of those who would have installed the app elsewhere in the world.

2. SA Department of Justice has confronted Facebook

The Information Regulator at the Department of Justice has reached out to Facebook after news that 59 777 South Africans were affected by the data breach. The department seeks to find out from Facebook how the breach happened, the full extent of it and what security measures have been put in place to prevent such a breach from happening again.

3. Many senators grilled Zuckerberg

Senators asked Zuckerberg some tough questions about issues around Facebook privacy policies, how they allowed the data scrape to happen, if they tracked people who aren’t on Facebook and why self-regulation will not work.

4. Zuckerberg provided vague answers to Congress

Each senator was limited to under five minutes and Zuckerberg took advantage of this time limit by talking about Facebook’s mission, policies and philosophies. When asked if Facebook was a monopoly he replied: “It certainly doesn’t feel like that to me.” Overall the hearing could not delve deeper into the legislation needed to curb this kind of data breach and follow up with questions for Zuckerberg. Zuckerberg could not answer questions about having the data of people who aren’t on the social media site, its biggest competitor and whether they’ll do anything about their privacy policy. One of the talking points was why Facebook only turned off the feature that allows third parties to scrape data a few weeks ago when it was flagged in 2013.

5. Some senators missed the point completely

Some of the senators did not make things easy for themselves with their inane questions. Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah asked Zuckerberg how Facebook made money. After a brief pause, Zuckerberg responded with a smile: “Senator, we run ads.”

6. Twitter went wild with the memes

Twitter was on fire as the hearing happened with people roasting the senators and Zuckerberg. Here are some highlights:

Watch Trevor Noah’s take on the matter:

  AUTHOR
Caxton Central

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