Deposing before US Congress, Zuckerberg opens up with an apology

RSTV Bureau
File photo of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

File photo of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg appeared before the US Congress on Tuesday deposing in the wake of alleged misuse of data on the social media major. His two-day deposition will continue till Wednesday. Striking an apology note, he also acknowledged that Facebook’s actions could have imperilled the privacy of tens of millions of its users.

Zuckerberg testified before two Senate panels – the Commerce and Judiciary committees – meeting in joint session, with 44 senators.

During the hearing, the Facebook CEO formally apologized to Congress for mistakes that led to the Cambridge Analytica scandal, saying he was sorry for a series of missteps.

“We didn’t take a broad enough view of our responsibility, and that was a big mistake,” he said. “It was my mistake, and I’m sorry. I started Facebook, I run it, and I’m responsible for what happens here.”

During the five-hour hearing, he fielded questions on Facebook’s data collection practices, the company’s alleged monopoly power and his views on regulating internet companies.

Significantly, on the issue of interference in elections, Zuckerberg confirmed that his company was cooperating with special counsel Robert Mueller in its investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. In February, Mueller’s office charged 13 Russians with interference in the 2016 election, along with three Russian companies.

He further emphasised that his company will do best to maintain integrity of elections. “2018 is an important year for the whole world. Several countries like India, Pakistan will have elections. We’ll do everything possible to ensure these elections are safe,” he said.

The Congressional hearings come nearly a month after news broke that Cambridge Analytica, a data firm with ties to President Donald Trump’s campaign, accessed information from as many as 87 million Facebook users without their knowledge.

On Wednesday Zuckerberg will testify at the US House Energy and Commerce Committee.

(With inputs from Agencies)