Sen. Harris puts Zuckerberg between a rock and a hard place for not disclosing data misuse

Sen. Harris puts Zuckerberg between a rock and a hard place for not disclosing data misuse
From TechCrunch - April 10, 2018

Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) spent her portion of todays epic-length questioning of Mark Zuckerberg getting the CEO to squeeze himself deeper and deeper between a rock and a hard place. He didnt reveal anything particularly damning, but he alsowith her helpmade himself look ineffective and clueless.

Her questioning had Zuckerberg contradicting himself on a serious topic: how the decision was made in 2015 to not inform the 87 million users that their data had been improperly sold off. If he didnt know about how that decision was made, what kind of leadership was that? But if he did know, then how could no conversation have taken place about the decision before it was made? It was one of the few times in the hearing where Zuckerbergs prepared remarks proved wholly insufficient.

Harris, who sounded boredas well she might be after some of the softballs that had been lobbed in Zuckerbergs directionbegan by saying that she was concerned by what shed heard.

During the course of this hearing these last four hours youve been asked several critical questions for which you dont have answers, she began.

We were also tracking the many, many times Zuckerberg declined to answer clearly or deferred with the standard well follow up. For the record, Harris listed that Zuckerberg did not address:

But her main issue, aside from informing Zuckerberg that these points had not been forgotten, was to bring up the specific occurrence that in 2015, Facebooklearned that the data of millions of users had been abused, and yet did not inform those users.

A concern of mine is that you, meaning Facebook, and Im going to assume you personally as CEO, became aware in December of 2015 that Dr Kogan and Cambridge Analytica misappropriated data from 87 million Facebook users. Thats 27 months ago, she said. However, a decision was made not to notify the users. So my question is did anyone at Facebook have a conversation, at the time that you became aware of this breach, have a conversation wherein the decision was made not to contact the users?

Here Zuckerberg attempted the defense of not being able to know every conversation at Facebook because I wasnt in a lot of them I mean, Im not sure what other people discussed.

Harris did not take the bait and when Zuckerberg attempted to steer the conversation towards the known facts of how Facebook responded in 2015, she pressed on:

Were you part of a discussion that resulted in the decision not to inform your users?

I dont remember a conversation like that, Zuckerberg responded, and attempted to expand with for the reason why only to be cut off by Harris again.

Are you aware of anyone in leadership at Facebook who was in a conversation where a decision was made not to inform your users, she asked, or do you believe no such conversation ever took place?

This was an excellent move. Shed limited Zuckerbergs options to either admitting he was unaware of conversations among leadership choosing to withhold news of this data abuse from users (unrealistic), or admitting that leadership did not have those conversations (deeply troubling). Both reflect poorly on him, his executives, and the company. Zuckerberg prudently chose to plead ignorance.

Im not sure whether there was a conversation about that, he said, yet immediately hit on a prepared line. But I can tell you about the thought process at the time, of the company, which was that in 2015 when we hard about this, we banned the developer and we demanded that they delete all the data and stop using it, and the same with Cambridge Analytica. They told us they had


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