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Zuckerberg Addresses Cambridge Analytica, Russia, Bias Accusations in Senate Testimony

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies before congressional committees regarding the company’s use and protection of user data on April 10, 2018. (Leah Millis/Reuters)

Testifying before the Senate Judiciary and Commerce Committees on Tuesday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg answered lawmakers’ questions on recent data breaches as well as the company’s handling of Russian Facebook pages that attempted to influence the 2016 presidential election.

Senator Roger Wicker (R., Miss.) asked the Facebook CEO whether Facebook tracks a user’s Internet-search history after they log out of Facebook.

“Senator, I want to make sure I get this accurate, so it would probably be better to have my team follow up afterwards,” Zuckerberg began.

“So you don’t know?” Wicker challenged.

“I know that people use cookies on the internet and that you can probably correlate activity between sessions. We do that for a number of reasons including security and including measuring ads to make sure that the ad experiences are the most effective, which of course people can opt out of,” Zuckerberg said.

Wicker requested that the Facebook chief get back to him with more information on the platform’s tracking of search histories, as well as how Facebook discloses such tracking to users.

Wicker wasn’t the only senator with tough questions for Zuckerberg. Texas’s Ted Cruz grilled the Facebook CEO on whether his platform is politically biased, mentioning specific right-leaning pages that were taken down by company administrators.

“To a great many Americans that appears to be persuasive pattern of political bias. Do you agree with this?” Cruz asked.

Zuckerberg denied the charges of bias, although he said he understood Cruz’s concerns.

Facebook’s boss also confirmed Tuesday that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigators have interviewed employees about Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. He said he is unsure whether Facebook has been subpoenaed by Mueller.

Facebook’s stock jumped 4.5 percent in the wake of Zuckerberg’s testimony Tuesday. He is scheduled to testify before the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Wednesday.

 

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