Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified before the US House Committee yesterday where he detailed how the platform works and the steps being taken by the company to ensure the privacy of its users is not affected. The most important agenda of the testimony was to understand steps being taken by Facebook to prevent another Cambridge Analytica style data scraping scandal.
Also on agenda was how other services owned by Facebook including Instagram and WhatsApp handle user data. In reply to Senator Schatz’s question, Mark Zuckerberg told the committee that Facebook does not see the content of messages being transmitted on WhatsApp and uses end-to-end encryption to secure communication on the messaging platform.
Zuckerberg also clarified that WhatsApp as a platform collects very little information. He added that WhatsApp is a lightweight app because the company need to know little about its user. “We can offer that (WhatsApp) with full encryption, and therefore, we’re not looking — we don’t see the content,” Zuckerberg told Senator Young in reply to a question around privacy.
In addition to clarifying WhatsApp’s data policy, Zuckerberg said that Facebook does not listen to its users through microphone on their mobile and has a strict policy in place to ensure developers do not scrape user data in the future. He also added that the system has gotten better at limiting the spread of fake information, especially during 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,” Zuckerberg said in the joint hearing of the Senate Judiciary and Commerce Committees.
Earlier, Zuckerberg testified with details on how his platform connects people around the world and how they feel let down by the company after the Cambridge Analytica scandal. “It was my mistake, and I’m sorry. I started Facebook, I run it, and I’m responsible for what happens here,” he told the committee.
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With the testimony and hearing at Capitol Hill yesterday, Mark Zuckerberg did show a mature side of him and illustrated plans to combat data abuse in the immediate future. He also confirmed that Facebook will add more people to its security team to flag and remove bad content from the platform. He also suggested that Facebook is in favor of meaningful regulation as senators feel that the social media giant has too much power to go unregulated.