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Zuckerberg assures Congress that Facebook is not listening to users' conversations

14 April 2018

Mark Zuckerberg has endured 10 hours of questioning from United States senators over the past two days.

During the five-hour testimony on Wednesday, Zuckerberg admitted that his profile data was among those exposed in the Cambridge Analytica leak.

Examples of third-party apps that Facebook has banned, aside from Cambridge Analytica's, for transferring user data without consent.

McGinn, who used to track the public's perception of CEO Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg while working for Facebook, left Facebook after just six months and launched his own polling company, Honest Data.

On regulation, Zuckerberg said he was open to it. "Right there. Not buried in the settings somewhere but right there", Zuckerberg said. Also, maybe you don't want to wait around for Facebook to get to your account's notification. This experience makes it clear there is no way for the average user to be completely confident in any platform's privacy.

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Ahead of Tuesday's hearing, the activist group Avaaz set up life-sized cutouts of Zuckerberg wearing a "Fix Facebook" T-shirt on the Capitol lawn, urging him to do more to root out fake accounts and "bots".

It will be weeks before Facebook responds to Congress and addresses this issue.

Emails obtained by conservative writer Erick Erickson's blog "The Resurgent" show that the company tried contacting Diamond and Silk on Monday. The premise of the site was to let users on campus compare images of two women, side by side, and then vote on which one was most attractive. This seems to be an issue women are more concerned with: 49 percent of surveyed women and 31 percent of male panelists would like Facebook to do something about toxic content. Buschon explained that he and his mother had a conversation about her deceased brother and later on Facebook, his mother saw a memorial photo collage of her brother come up.

"It's pretty obvious to me that someone is listening to the audio on our phones", Buschon said.

"Senator, we run ads", Zuckerberg said patiently.

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And behind Zuckerberg's Ivy League earnestness and soft-touch Silicon Valley idealism, is a ruthless capitalist who knows full well that wringing as much data as possible from his customers, and then using it to attract advertisers, is the core of his business.

The company has always denied these allegations. John Thune, the Republican chairman of Senate Commerce, told Zuckerberg. We use the data that people put into the system in order to make them more relevant.

The company does this by using different techniques integrated into pages around the web. Days later, they report, Facebook was showing advertisements on their newsfeed and wall for items that were talked about days earlier.

The response from Zuckerberg was perhaps the most dubious of the entire session: "I'm not - I'm not familiar with that", he said.

Democratic Representative Debbie Dingell expressed frustration with Zuckerberg's frequent promises to get back to lawmakers later in writing. Don't you agree? Though Facebook has done away with granting access to friends' profiles in 2014, this should continue to serve as a reminder.

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Now that you know the status of your data, what you decide to do with your account is up to you. Due to this 'default on' many naive users don't realize what kind of permissions they have granted to various apps.

Zuckerberg assures Congress that Facebook is not listening to users' conversations