Zuckerberg on Capitol Hill: What You Need To Know

It came out recently that the social media platform, Facebook, had a major personal data security breach. How? It came in the form of allowed apps on the platform. Facebook's initial vision was all about allowing you to share your friend's birthdays, pictures, where you live, etc. Users would literally share so much personal details about their lives, believing that it was a safe space for them to do so. Your personal Facebook page was in essence like a personal digital platform that allowed to you share not with one person but hundreds at the same time. People put a lot of trust in what they shared because Facebook did and does have security measures that allow you to decide if you share you information publically or only with "friends" so that made a lot of people feel like they had personal control. Wrong. What we later find out is that some of these allowed apps that you can access on the site for fun, are really accessing your personal information and you are giving them permission to do so! 

If you ever use or used Facebook, you'll know that there are random fun quizs, games, etc. that users part take in, share with friends, and find entertaining. If you pay attention, for the most part these apps ask you "permission" to access your Facebook page. Some don't specifically say what they are accessing. Some say your picture, birthday, etc. Most people don't know (well now they do after the latest controversy) that these apps are accessing personal information that includes your likes, interests, what events are going on in your life like if you are getting married or have kids, etc. You are not just giving the app permission to post your test results on your page. We find out the real motive is for them to gain your information for their own personal gain. This is exactly what happened with Cambridge Analytica.

In 2013 the Cambridge Analytica company created a personality quiz in the form of an app that was distributed on Facebook. About 300,000 people used this app and therefore they allowed their info to be shared with this company, unknowing that this company would use their info to target them. How? First off, they are a data mining company so what that means is they gather information and use that information as a way of targeting the audience whether it's through political agendas, brands/advertising, etc. The company uses your data to pitch information to you that they think you'd like based on your personal information. The big controversy is how Facebook who is supposed to be a safe place, allow this type of data breaching to take place? People's argument is that they did not allow their information to be used against them to target them with ads, political messages, whatever information these other sources decided. In addition some of the political agenda pushed is said to be biased and largely left leaning and therefore favoring liberals and giving them an unfair advantage on the platform while blocking some right leaning agendas. 

Due to what happened here, Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook has gotten a lot of heat for allowing this to happen and they have had to answer to Congress. Zuckerberg did just that yesterday while getting grilled by multiple senators.

 

After watching what happened on Capitol Hill yesterday, it's painstakingly obvious that some members of congress understand social media and Facebook better than others. Ted Cruz was strong, factful, and deliberate with his questions. Whereas Orin Hatch clearly has never used Facebook in his life and we'd be lucky if he heard of the platform before today. This is all based on his question, which it took everything in Zuckerberg's power not to burst out laughing at him. It's written all over his face that at first he was in utter shock that Hatch had no idea how Facebook worked and really in this day and age it's not hard to understand. 

 

The hearings continue on Capitol Hill today for a second day while Zuckerberg testifies. Read Zuckerberg's full prepared testimony HERE.

-Producer Lightning

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