Wednesday, 25 April, 2018

Tech Tent: Questions for Zuckerberg and Cambridge

Tech Tent: Questions for Zuckerberg and Cambridge Tech Tent: Questions for Zuckerberg and Cambridge
Preston Stone | 14 April, 2018, 14:39

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden called attention to a video of a BBC interview in which Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that Facebook would never share or sell anyone's personal information. "We don't do that".

A key discussion in the five-hour hearing was the urban legend that Facebook secretly records audio through microphones on a phone to target advertisements to users.

Analysts and investors keep close tabs on Facebook's user statistics as a way to gauge the company's financial health. The fallout from the scandal also precipitated Mark Zuckerberg's appearance before the US Congress this week. When asked what would happen to the data of the childs usage, Zuckerberg said kids that moved on to create their own Facebook accounts would start from scratch.

While Democratic congressional members seemed to focus mostly on who controls the data and how it's shared with other entities, Republicans in the House seemed particularly interested in discussing Facebook's so-called bias against conservative views.

Of these, a bill pushing for political advertising transparency appears to have the most momentum right now, with support from Facebook as well as Twitter. For the first time, Zuckerberg publicly acknowledged that it does have that data.

"It is inevitable that there will need to be some regulation" of internet firms, Zuckerberg said, but he avoided any specifics.

While questions ranged from data privacy to prescription drug sales to employee diversity, most lines of inquiry highlighted the challenge of trying to grasp and confront Facebook's vast power in consumers' lives, in ways most of its users don't completely understand. Or as Zuckerberg admits, Facebook didn't do enough to guard against downstream consequences.

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New Mexico representative Ben Lujan asked for Zuckerberg to elaborate on the practice, questioning how many data points Facebook collects on those that haven't even joined the platform.

The hearings that ended on Wednesday revealed no consensus among United States lawmakers about what kind of privacy legislation they might want to pursue, if any, and no timeline for action.

In 2011, Facebook and the FTC agreed that the company would get users clear permission before sharing their information with any third party.

But the relationship brings up a serious question: How will these researchers protect those secrets - our data - especially in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal?

Brian Wieser, an analyst at Pivotal Research, said that even with the fully implemented changes, "there is still a lot of personal data that is used in the targeting of ads and delivery of content". Also, maybe you don't want to wait around for Facebook to get to your account's notification. So, to put those numbers into better perspective, that means around 36.38 million people in the U.S. have deleted the Facebook phone app, while 19.26 million have deleted their accounts altogether.

He talked of a whole programme at the university, where a number of researchers were building similar apps to that made by Dr Kogan for Cambridge Analytica.

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