Sorry, Mark: Lying gets you nowhere up the ladder

Photo of Mark Zuckerberg during his questioning of the Cambridge Analyticia-Facebook data leak at Capitol Hill on April 10, 2018, courtesy of Zach Gibson/Getty Images.

Photo of Mark Zuckerberg during his questioning of the Cambridge Analyticia-Facebook data leak at Capitol Hill on April 10, 2018, courtesy of Zach Gibson/Getty Images.

Rachael McKriger, Editor In Chief

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“I believe deeply in what we’re doing.”

Mark Zuckerberg took the stand in a long-awaited grilling from members of Congress on April 12. At Capitol Hill, Zuckerberg, the CEO and founder of Facebook, answered questions and provided a statement in front of numerous senators.

Zuckerberg, as Opinions Editor James Rudolph wrote about in the last Cal Times issue, is under fire for personal Facebook data being leaked by Cambridge Analytica.

Cambridge Analytica is a consultation firm, which was hired by the campaign of Donald Trump during the 2016 president election. The information was obtained through Russian-American, and worker at the University of Cambridge, Aleksandr Kogan. Christopher Wylie testified on how the consultation firm was able to obtain the private information.

During his questioning, Zuckerberg answered a variety of questions, which included topics like political bias, legislation on privacy and his business ventures.

Zuckerberg began his opening statement by explaining Facebook and apologizing.

“It was my mistake, and I’m sorry,” Zuckerberg, 33, said. “I started Facebook, I run it and I’m responsible for what happens here.”

Zuckerberg also tried to promote Facebook in a positive light, saying that movements like Me Too and the March for Our Lives were “put together on Facebook.” He then went back to apologizing, saying that the company did not take a broad enough view “of our responsibility.”

“We have to go through our relationship with people and make sure we’re taking a broad enough view of our responsibility,” Zuckerberg said.

Throughout the entire session, Zuckerberg was blasted by various senators. He was asked if he was running a monopoly, seemingly shamed for buying Instagram by Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and belittled by Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois when he couldn’t answer what seemed to be a simple question about tracking devices.

Zuckerberg deserves this — and nobody should feel bad for him.

For someone that is a so-called genius and who invited Facebook from his dorm room at Harvard University in 2004, Zuckerberg couldn’t even follow up with Cambridge Analytica about deleting personal information collected off Facebook.

To simplify the situation, Zuckerberg basically trusted the people at Cambridge Analytica when they told him they deleted the information and didn’t follow up.

Big mistake, Mark.

A follow up should have been conducted. Instead, Zuckerberg said that he didn’t notify the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) because he thought that the “case was closed” when Cambridge Analytica fooled him.

“When we heard back from Cambridge Analytica that they deleted the data, we considered it a closed case,” Zuckerberg explained.

However, a crop of senators did not like

“What happened here was willful blindness,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal said to Zuckerberg. “We’ve seen the apology tours… I don’t see how you can change your business model without maximizing profit over privacy.”

Sen. Bill Nelson also noted that the whole situation “seemed to be a lack of data practices.”

When asking if Zuckerberg would disclose what hotel he stayed at the night before the meeting or the people he personally contacted during the week — which Zuckerberg replied that he would not disclose the information — Sen. Durbin said that, “This is what it’s all about, isn’t it? Your right to privacy.”

Zuckerberg gets exactly what is coming for him. Despite the intense questioning, there were still tons of questions unanswered.

Zuckerberg didn’t clearly answer why Facebook didn’t follow up with Cambridge Analytica, if he broke an agreement with the FTC and not telling American voters about ties to the Trump Administration between Zuckerberg and Cambridge Analytica in 2016.

There are still more details that are going to come out of the interrogation, and rightfully so. However, whatever Zuckerberg has coming to him will be worth it. Millions of people had their personal, private information stolen from them.

Zuckerberg won’t get jail time — because, simply, his money talks — but here’s to hoping he gets reprimanded.

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