Zuckerberg discloses Facebook working with Russia probe - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Zuckerberg discloses Facebook working with Russia probe

Posted: Updated:
WASHINGTON -

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg disclosed Tuesday his company is “working with” special counsel Robert Mueller in the federal probe of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign — and working hard to change its own operations after the harvesting of users’ private information by a Trump campaign-affiliated data-mining company.

The founder of the social media giant publicly apologized for his company’s errors in failing to better protect the personal information of its millions of users, a controversy that has brought a flood of bad publicity and sent the company’s stock value plunging. He seemed to achieve a measure of success: Facebook shares surged 4.5 percent for the day, the biggest gain in two years.

Zuckerberg told the Senate Judiciary and Commerce committees that he has not been personally interviewed by Mueller’s team, but “I know we’re working with them.” He offered no details, citing a concern about confidentiality rules of the investigation.

Earlier this year Mueller charged 13 Russian individuals and three Russian companies in a plot to interfere in the 2016 presidential election through a social media propaganda effort that included online ad purchases using U.S. aliases and politicking on U.S. soil. A number of the Russian ads were on Facebook.

During Tuesday’s at-times-contentious hearing, Zuckerberg said it had been “clearly a mistake” to believe the data-mining company Cambridge Analytica had deleted user data that it had harvested in an attempt to sway elections. He said Facebook had considered the data collection “a closed case” because it thought the information had been discarded.

Facebook also didn’t alert the Federal Trade Commission, Zuckerberg said, and he assured senators the company would handle the situation differently today.

He began a two-day congressional inquisition with a public apology for the way Facebook handled the data-mining of its users’ data. He took responsibility for failing to prevent Cambridge Analytica, which was affiliated with Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, from gathering personal information from 87 million users.

Separately, the company began alerting some of its users that their data was gathered by Cambridge Analytica. A notification that appeared on Facebook for some users Tuesday told them that “one of your friends” used Facebook to log into a now-banned personality quiz app called “This Is Your Digital Life.” The notice says the app misused the information, including public profiles, page likes, birthdays and current cities, by sharing it with Cambridge Analytica.


Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., the Commerce Committee chairman, told Zuckerberg his company had a 14-year history of apologizing for “ill-advised decisions” related to user privacy. “How is today’s apology different?” Thune asked.Zuckerberg had apologized many times already, to users and the public, but this was the first time before Congress. He also is to testify Wednesday before the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

“We have made a lot of mistakes in running the company,” Zuckerberg responded. “I think it’s pretty much impossible, I believe, to start a company in your dorm room and then grow it to be at the scale that we’re at now without making some mistakes.”

Zuckerberg said Facebook is going through “a broader philosophical shift in how we approach our responsibility as a company.” He said the company needs to take a “more proactive role” that includes ensuring the tools it creates are used in “good and healthy” ways.

Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, said Zuckerberg’s appearance marked the most intense hearing for a tech company since entrepreneur and businessman Bill Gates testified before Congress in March 1998.

Many of the senators’ questions seemed to focus on Facebook’s basic functions, such as its privacy settings and what it does and doesn’t do with user data. Because each of the 44 senators had just 5 minutes to ask questions, there was little time for tough follow-ups. On some subjects, that allowed Zuckerberg to tell the lawmakers that his people would get back to them with more information.

In the hearings, Zuckerberg is trying to both restore public trust in his company and stave off federal regulations that some lawmakers have floated. In his opening statement, he also apologized for his company’s involvement in facilitating fake news and Russian interference in the elections.

Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida said he believes Zuckerberg was taking the congressional hearings seriously “because he knows there is going to be a hard look at regulation.”

Democrats like Nelson have argued that federal laws might be necessary to ensure user privacy. Republicans have yet to get behind any such legislation, but that could change.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., asked Zuckerberg if he would be willing to work with lawmakers to examine what “regulations you think are necessary in your industry.”

Absolutely, Zuckerberg responded, saying later in an exchange with Sen. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, that “I’m not the type of person who thinks that all regulation is bad.” He called for a “full conversation about what is the right regulation not whether it should be or shouldn’t be.”

And Texas Sen. John Cornyn, a member of the Judiciary panel and the No. 2 Republican in the Senate, appeared open to regulation in a speech ahead of the hearing. Cornyn said apologies are “not enough” and suggested legislation could eventually be needed to give consumers more control over their data privacy.

“This is a serious matter, and I think people expect us to take action,” Cornyn told reporters after his speech.

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

After resisting previous calls to testify, Zuckerberg agreed to come to Capitol Hill this month after reports surfaced — and the company confirmed — that Cambridge Analytica had gathered Facebook users’ data. Zuckerberg said his company has a responsibility to make sure that doesn’t happen again.

He acknowledged that the company was too slow to respond to Russian election interference and said it was “working hard to get better.” The company has said that as many as 146 million people may have received information from a Russian agency that’s accused of orchestrating much of the cyber meddling in the election.

He outlined steps the company has taken to restrict outsiders’ access to people’s personal information. He also said the company is investigating every app that had access to a large amount of information before the company moved to prevent such access in 2014 — actions that came too late in the Cambridge Analytica case.

___

Associated Press writer Lisa Mascaro contributed to this report. Ortutay reported from New York.

(Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Health advisory issued for Fernan Lake

    Health advisory issued for Fernan Lake

    Wednesday, July 18 2018 7:25 PM EDT2018-07-18 23:25:34 GMT
    Panhandle Health DistrictPanhandle Health District

    KOOTENAI COUNTY, Idaho - Panhandle Health District (PHD) and the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) have issued a health advisory for Fernan Lake. PHD is urging the public to use caution when recreating in or near the water. Water quality monitoring confirmed the presence of cyanobacteria, commonly known as blue-green algae. Blue-green algal blooms have the potential to produce dangerous toxins in areas of the lake. 

    >>

    KOOTENAI COUNTY, Idaho - Panhandle Health District (PHD) and the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) have issued a health advisory for Fernan Lake. PHD is urging the public to use caution when recreating in or near the water. Water quality monitoring confirmed the presence of cyanobacteria, commonly known as blue-green algae. Blue-green algal blooms have the potential to produce dangerous toxins in areas of the lake. 

    >>
  • Cooling hot spots and strengthening containment lines top priority on Upriver/Beacon fire today

    Cooling hot spots and strengthening containment lines top priority on Upriver/Beacon fire today

    Thursday, July 19 2018 1:23 PM EDT2018-07-19 17:23:40 GMT

    SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. - Firefighters on the front lines of the Upriver Beacon fire are making progress on the 115-acre fire that started Tuesday evening.  Megan Hill, Public Information Officer for the fire, tells KHQ the fire is 20 percent contained as of Wednesday evening.

    >>

    SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. - Firefighters on the front lines of the Upriver Beacon fire are making progress on the 115-acre fire that started Tuesday evening.  Megan Hill, Public Information Officer for the fire, tells KHQ the fire is 20 percent contained as of Wednesday evening.

    >>
  • Illinois man stabs himself after jury's guilty verdict

    Illinois man stabs himself after jury's guilty verdict

    Thursday, July 19 2018 1:21 AM EDT2018-07-19 05:21:16 GMT

    BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (AP) - Authorities say a central Illinois man stabbed himself in a courtroom shortly after a jury found him guilty in a sexual assault case. The Pantagraph reports 78-year-old Johnny Icard was sitting alone Wednesday at a defense table in Bloomington where he had represented himself at trial. When the judge said he was revoking Icard's bond, the Bloomington man said he had family affairs to attend to and wasn't expecting the verdict.   

    >>

    BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (AP) - Authorities say a central Illinois man stabbed himself in a courtroom shortly after a jury found him guilty in a sexual assault case. The Pantagraph reports 78-year-old Johnny Icard was sitting alone Wednesday at a defense table in Bloomington where he had represented himself at trial. When the judge said he was revoking Icard's bond, the Bloomington man said he had family affairs to attend to and wasn't expecting the verdict.   

    >>
HD DOPPLER 6i
/
  • Top Stories from KHQHomeMore>>

  • Cooling hot spots and strengthening containment lines top priority on Upriver/Beacon fire today

    Cooling hot spots and strengthening containment lines top priority on Upriver/Beacon fire today

    Thursday, July 19 2018 1:23 PM EDT2018-07-19 17:23:40 GMT

    SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. - Firefighters on the front lines of the Upriver Beacon fire are making progress on the 115-acre fire that started Tuesday evening.  Megan Hill, Public Information Officer for the fire, tells KHQ the fire is 20 percent contained as of Wednesday evening.

    >>

    SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. - Firefighters on the front lines of the Upriver Beacon fire are making progress on the 115-acre fire that started Tuesday evening.  Megan Hill, Public Information Officer for the fire, tells KHQ the fire is 20 percent contained as of Wednesday evening.

    >>
  • Dog missing after fatal Spokane Valley crash has been found

    Dog missing after fatal Spokane Valley crash has been found

    Thursday, July 19 2018 1:19 PM EDT2018-07-19 17:19:32 GMT

    SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. - UPDATE: Pamela called KHQ this morning to let us know her beloved dog Pearl has been found after our story aired Wednesday night. She tells us she's going to pick Pearl up from SCRAPS Thursday.

    >>

    SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. - UPDATE: Pamela called KHQ this morning to let us know her beloved dog Pearl has been found after our story aired Wednesday night. She tells us she's going to pick Pearl up from SCRAPS Thursday.

    >>
  • UPDATE: Spokane mother's stolen van recovered, but not in working order

    UPDATE: Spokane mother's stolen van recovered, but not in working order

    Thursday, July 19 2018 1:19 PM EDT2018-07-19 17:19:02 GMT

    SPOKANE, Wash.- Nicole Workman says her stolen van was recovered by Spokane Police but is not in working order. On top of damaging her van's ignition, Workman says the thieves stole her daughter's car seat, stroller, and toys. Additional items including phone chargers and floor mats were also taken. 

    >>

    SPOKANE, Wash.- Nicole Workman says her stolen van was recovered by Spokane Police but is not in working order. On top of damaging her van's ignition, Workman says the thieves stole her daughter's car seat, stroller, and toys. Additional items including phone chargers and floor mats were also taken. 

    >>