6:55 p.m. Zuckerberg says Facebook has seen no falloff
CEO Mark Zuckerberg says Facebook has not seen a falloff in usage in light of the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
Zuckerberg had already said last week that the company has not seen any ‘‘meaningful impact’’ from an online campaign to ‘‘delete Facebook’’ or from some high-profile departures, such as Elon Musk’s companies pulling their pages from the site.
Tuesday’s congressional hearing is the first of two Zuckerberg faces this week to answer questions about Facebook’s privacy protections and other issues. —Associated Press
6:25 p.m. Notes show Zuckerberg expected resignation query
If his notes are any indication, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg expected senators to ask whether he’d resign. His notes acknowledge he’s made mistakes and say the company is facing a ‘‘big challenge’’ but will solve this one too.
Zuckerberg’s notes were briefly visible to an Associated Press photographer during a hearing Tuesday in which he answered questions about privacy, election interference and other issues.
The bullet-pointed pages include sections on ‘‘diversity,’’ ‘’competition,’’ and GDPR, the European data-privacy rules that go into effect next month. Zuckerberg’s notes warn him, ‘‘don’t say we already do what GDPR requires.’’
The notes even refer to Tim Cook, the Apple CEO who recently criticized Facebook. One note says there are ‘‘lots of stories about apps misusing Apple data, never seen Apple notify people.’’ —Associated Press
5:50 p.m. Zuckerberg testifies on privacy scandal
Alaska Sen. Dan Sullivan thought he was lobbing a softball question to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg: His success was an ‘‘only in America’’ story, right?
Sullivan asked if someone in China could have a similar story to Zuckerberg, who created Facebook from his Harvard dorm room.
But Zuckerberg paused, apparently pondering a more global perspective. He told Sullivan that ‘‘there are some very strong Chinese Internet companies.’’
To laughter, Sullivan was befuddled, telling Zuckerberg he was supposed to answer ‘‘yes’’ to that question. —Associated Press
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is assuring lawmakers he has learned a lot since starting the social network in his Harvard dorm room 14 years ago.
The roughly 2.2 billion people now using Facebook can only hope Zuckerberg’s views on personal privacy have changed.
Not long after Zuckerberg started Facebook while he was still 19 years old, he mocked the people entrusting him with their emails, pictures and other sensitive information while instant messaging with a friend. The exchange was obtained and published in 2010 by Business Insider.
After his friends asked him how he obtained so much information about 4,000 people, Zuckerberg said they ‘‘trust me’’ and then described people as ‘‘dumb’’ for doing it, punctuated with a profanity.
Zuckerberg later apologized for the remarks in a 2010 interview with ‘‘The New Yorker’’ and said he had ‘‘learned and grown a lot.’’ —Associated Press
5:10 p.m. A vote of confidence from the market
Investors rallied around Facebook during Zuckerberg’s testimony.
Facebook shares rose 4.5 percent to $165.04, their biggest percentage gain in almost two years.
About half the gain came early in the day as the broader market surged on signs of an easing in trade tensions between the U.S. and China. Facebook shares gained further as Zuckerberg took questions from senators.
Facebook shares are still down about 11 percent since last month. —Associated Press
5 p.m. The safeguards wouldn’t be foolproof
Zuckerberg said the company wouldn’t necessarily know if someone set up a shell corporation to run political ads in the United States to skirt the company’s verification process.
The company announced recently that it would require political advertisers — and those running so-called political ‘‘issue ads’’ — to verify who they are and that they have a physical address. Facebook would verify this by asking for a government-issued ID and by mailing a special code to the advertiser’s physical address to verify it.
Zuckerberg was responding to questions by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, who asked how the company is able to verify the ‘‘true beneficiary’’ of a site that is putting out political material. —Associated Press
4:50 p.m. A decent performance or too stiff?
Crisis-management experts say Zuckerberg looked a bit shaky at points but was overall doing a fairly good job on appearing cooperative and forthright.
Mike Chapple, a University of Notre Dame professor, said Zuckerberg was doing a good job overall.
Chapple said: ‘‘As far as I can tell the answers he’s providing are accurate, he’s being upfront about mistakes they’ve made in past and committed to correcting issues in the future.’’
But Dartmouth Business Professor Paul Argenti said he sounded ‘‘staged and careful.’’
Argenti said: ‘‘He’s probably said 15 times, ‘I’ll have my people get in touch with you.’ There’s a formality about the way he’s presenting himself.’’ —Associated Press
4:30 p.m. Taking a break
Two hours into the hearing, right after the aggressive questioning by Cruz, Senator Thune asked Zuckerberg if he would like to take a break.
“Sure I mean that was pretty good,” Zuckerberg said smiling. Then a five-minute break was called. Zuckerberg stood up and buttoned his suit jacket and walked away.
4:20 p.m. The grilling continues
Senator Ted Cruz grilled Zuckerberg, asserting that Facebook suppresses conservative views. Cruz said a “great many Americans” believe Facebook is engaging in “a pervasive pattern of bias and political censorship.”
Zuckerberg said that he was “very committed to making sure Facebook is a platform for all ideas. That is a very important founding principle of what we do.”
Earlier, Senator Richard Blumenthal had expressed concerns about privacy.
“We’ve seen the apology tours before,” he said.
“I don’t see how you can change your business model unless there are specific rules of the road. Your business model is to monetize user information, maximize profits over privacy. Unless there are specific rules and requirements ... I have no assurance that these kind of vague commitments are going to produce action,” he said.
4:05 p.m. A tough question from Durbin
Senator Dick Durbin left Zuckerberg speechless with his first question: “Would you be comfortable sharing with us the name of the hotel you stayed in last night?”
“Ummmm.... Uhhh, no,” said Zuckerberg, cracking a rare smile in a mostly earnest performance.
Durbin also asked if Zuckerberg would share the names of the people he had messaged this week.
“Senator, no, I would probably not,” said Zuckerberg.
“I think that may be what this is all about. ... Your right to privacy, the limits to your right to privacy,” Durbin said.
Zuckerberg responded, “I think everyone should have control over how their information is used.” He argued that people using Facebook do have control.
4 p.m. Looking into Cambridge Analytica
Is there a link between the Facebook data the company Cambridge Analytica received on 87 million people and the 126 million people in the United States who received content from a Facebook page allegedly associated with the Russian government?
“We’re investigating that now. We believe that it is entirely possible that there will be a connection there,” Zuckerberg said, answering a question by Senator Amy Klobuchar.
“That seems like a big deal as we look back at that last election,” Klobuchar said.
Zuckerberg said he wants to do a full audit of Cambridge Analytica’s systems to make sure it has removed the data. He said Facebook will take legal action if Cambridge Analytica doesn’t. He said the audit’s on hold while the British government conducts its own investigation.
3:50 p.m. Working with special counsel Robert Mueller
Under questioning by Senator Patrick Leahy, Zuckerberg said his company is working with special counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia in trying to win the 2016 election.
“I want to be careful here because our work with the special counsel is confidential and I want to make sure that in an open session I’m not revealing something that’s confidential,” he said. “I know that we’re working with them.”
3:35 p.m A mostly smooth performance
Despite all the talk about whether Zuckerberg, who has been caricatured in the popular media as a tech nerd, would stumble during the hearing, for the first hour or so he committed no major gaffes, answering senators’ questions clearly and articulately.
3:3o p.m. Regrets on the Russians
Under questioning by Senator Dianne Feinstein, ranking member on the Judiciary Commitee, Zuckerberg said “one of his greatest regrets in running the company” was being “slow in identifying the Russian information operations.” He said the Russian operations were not identified until “right around the time of the 2016 elections itself.”
More than 20,000 people will be working on security and content review by the end of the year, he said.
3:16 p.m. Zuckerberg: Facebook has ‘made a lot of mistakes’
“After more than a decade of promises to do better, how is today’s apology different? Why should we trust Facebook to make the necessary changes?” said Senator John Thune, chairman of the commerce committee.
“We have made a lot of mistakes in running the company. I think it’s pretty much impossible to start a company in your dorm room and grow it to be the scale we have now and not make some mistakes,” Zuckerberg said
He said that in the first 10 or 12 years of the company he viewed it as building tools that would empower people. Now, he said, the philosophy has changed.
“We need to take a more proactive role and a broader view of our responsibility,” he said. “It’s not enough just to build tools. We need to make sure that they’re used for good.” He said Facebook would use artificial intelligence to police the community, but hate speech has been difficult to flag.
3:02 p.m. Zuckerberg speaks, pledges to do better
Zuckerberg read from the first part of his written statement, linked below. “It’s clear now that we didn’t do enough to prevent these tools from being used for harm as well. That goes for fake news, foreign interference in elections, and hate speech, as well as developers and data privacy,” he said.
“It’s not enough to just connect people, we have to make sure those connections are positive. It’s not enough to just give people a voice, we need to make sure people aren’t using it to harm people or spread misinformation. ... Across the board, we have a responsibility to not just build tools, but to make sure those tools are used for good.”
2:45 p.m. Opening statements by senators
Tough quote: Senator Bill Nelson, ranking member of the commerce committee, in opening remarks, said, “Let me just cut to the chase. If you and other social media companies do not get your act in order, none of us are going to have any privacy anymore.”
“I think you’re genuine … You want to do the right thing.. You want to enact reforms. We want to know if it’s going to be enough,” he said.
Zuckerberg entered at exactly 2:30 p.m. to the clicking of camera shutters. The chairmen and ranking members of the commerce and judiciary committees made oepning statements.
2:20 p.m. The anticipation builds
All eyes are on a Capitol Hill hearing room, where 33-year-old tech titan Mark Zuckerberg is about to testify to Congress to explain how and why his company failed to protect its users’ data — and to offer assurances that the company will perform better in the future.
Here’s a link to Zuckerberg’s prepared remarks, in which he says, “We didn’t take a broad enough view of our responsibility, and that was a big mistake.”
The testimony is expected to be a two-day marathon.
Material from The Associated Press was used in this report.