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Zuckerberg testifies before Congress

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WASHINGTON, April 10, 2018 (Xinhua) -- Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies at a joint hearing of the Senate Judiciary and Commerce committees on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C., United States, on April 10, 2018. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg told Congress in written testimony on Monday that he is
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies at a joint hearing of the Senate Judiciary and Commerce committees on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C., United States, on April 10, 2018. (Xinhua/Ting Shen/IANS)

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Tuesday testified before the Congress and during his five-hour testimony, the lawmakers asked him tough questions on fake news, Russian interference during the 2016 presidential election and censorship of conservative media. He told Congress in written testimony that he is “responsible for” not preventing the social media platform from being used for harm, including fake news, foreign interference in elections and hate speech…..reports Asian lite News

WASHINGTON, April 10, 2018 (Xinhua) -- Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies at a joint hearing of the Senate Judiciary and Commerce committees on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C., United States, on April 10, 2018. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg told Congress in written testimony on Monday that he is "responsible for" not preventing the social media platform from being used for harm, including fake news, foreign interference in elections and hate speech. (Xinhua/Ting Shen/IANS) by .
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies at a joint hearing of the Senate Judiciary and Commerce committees on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C., United States, on April 10, 2018.  (Xinhua/Ting Shen/IANS)

As Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s testifies before Congress fro the first time, he accepted that the company didn’t do enough to prevent the platform from being used to harm others.

In his opening remarks, Zuckerberg, said, “Facebook is an idealistic and optimistic company. For most of our existence, we focused on all of the good that connecting people can do. But it’s clear now that we didn’t do enough to prevent these tools for being used as harm as well.”

“That goes for fake news, for interference in elections and we didn’t take a broad enough view of our responsibility and that was a big mistake and it was my mistake and I’m sorry,” the 33-year-old executive said.

During the hearing, Zuckerberg also fielded questions on Facebook’s data collection practices, the company’s alleged monopoly power and his views on regulating Internet companies, CNN reported.

Facebook is currently embroiled in a widening scandal that a British data firm called Cambridge Analytica had improperly gathered detailed Facebook information on 87 million users, up from a previous estimate of more than 50 million.

This is the first time that the Facebook CEO is testifying before Congress.

With 44 senators asking questions, and just five minutes of time allotted for each, there was limited potential for followup questions to and grilling of the CEO, the report said.

WASHINGTON, April 10, 2018 (Xinhua) -- Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies at a joint hearing of the Senate Judiciary and Commerce committees on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C., United States, on April 10, 2018. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg told Congress in written testimony on Monday that he is "responsible for" not preventing the social media platform from being used for harm, including fake news, foreign interference in elections and hate speech. (Xinhua/Ting Shen/IANS) by .
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies at a joint hearing of the Senate Judiciary and Commerce committees on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C., United States (Xinhua/Ting Shen/IANS)

Senator John Thune, a Republican from South Dakota, asked Zuckerberg if he’s willing to make a commitment to protect political speech from “all different corners.”

Zuckerberg agreed and said, “If there’s an imminent threat of harm, we’re going to take a conservative position on that and make sure that we flag that and understand that more broadly,” he said.

“I don’t want anyone at our company to make any decisions based on the political ideology of the content,” he added.

Asked if he was committed to ensuring that activist groups like Black Lives Matter aren’t “unfairly” targeted or monitored.

Zuckerberg said that the company was committed to that.

“And in general, unless law enforcement has a very clear subpoena or ability to get access to information, we’re going to push back on that across the board,” he added.

On a question if Facebook has a political bias, the 33-year-old executive said that the platform’s goal was not to engage political speech.

Photo shows the exterior of the office building of Cambridge Analytica in London, Britain. (Xinhua/Stephen Chung/IANS)

Zuckerberg said he understands those concerns, especially because “Facebook and tech industry is located in Silicon Valley, which is an extremely left-leaning place.”

But he said he tries to make sure Facebook does not have any bias in the work that it does.

He confirmed on Tuesday that his company is cooperating with special counsel Robert Mueller in its investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 US presidential election.

When asked by Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy while he testified on Capitol Hill whether Facebook had been served subpoenas for the special counsel, Zuckerberg responded “yes,” but later clarified: “I am actually not aware of a subpoena. I’m aware that there may be, but we are working with them.”

When asked if his employees had been interviewed, he also responded yes, but added, “I have not”, reports CNN.

Office building of Cambridge Analytica in London. (Xinhua/Stephen Chung/IANS)

He continued: “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 is confidential.”

There is an online propaganda “arms race” with Russia and the most important thing right now is to make sure no one interferes in the upcoming elections globally, vowed Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg during the five-hour marathon session at the US Congress.

“The most important thing I care about right now is making sure no one interferes in the various 2018 elections around the world,” he testified before a 44-Senator panel.

“As long as there are people sitting in Russia whose job it is to try and interfere with elections around the world, this is going to be an ongoing conflict,” the 33-year-old billionaire said.

Facebook’s stock was up about two percent even before Zuckerberg sat down. It moved even higher when he started addressing the questions from lawmakers and finished the day with a 4.5 percent gain.