April 10, 2018

Cortez Masto to Facebook CEO Zuckerberg: Stop Apologizing, Make A Change

Washington, D.C. – At today’s joint hearing of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary and the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) grilled Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg over the recent announcement that Facebook exposed the data of 87 million Americans to Cambridge Analytica without user consent. In her questioning, Senator Cortez Masto focused on what control individual users have over their data, user privacy and how Facebook failed to address the issue of protecting user data after a 2011 Federal Trade Commission consent decree.

Senator Cortez Masto to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on privacy and protecting user data: “I appreciate you being here. I appreciate the apology but stop apologizing and let’s make the change.”

After Zuckerberg failed to thoroughly answer the Senator’s initial line of questioning on data privacy, the Senator focused on a 2011 Federal Trade Commission consent decree: “Let me do it this way. In response to the FTC consent decree to make [protection] changes, did you make those changes and what did you do to ensure that individual user data was protected and they had notice that potentially third parties would be accessing that? What did you do in response to the [FTC decree]?”

In response, Mr. Zuckerberg repeated that Facebook established a “robust” privacy policy program. Cortez Masto pressed Zuckerberg on specifics.

Cortez Masto emphasized that had Facebook acted the Committee’s would not be meeting today to discuss Cambridge Analytica: “Can you give me specifics because I’m hearing this over and over again and I’m running out of time. Here is the concern that I have: it can’t be a privacy policy because that is what the consent [decree] said it couldn’t be – it had to be something specific and something simple that did not occur, had that occurred we wouldn’t be here today talking about Cambridge Analytica.

“Isn’t that really true? Had you addressed those issues then, had you done an audit, had you looked at the third party applications and their associated data storage as well, you would have known that this type of data information was being shared.”

Senator Cortez Masto closed to Mr. Zuckerberg: “And that is our concern. That is what I’m saying now: time just to make the change. It’s time to really address the privacy issues. It’s time to come and lead the country on this issue and how we can protect individual users data and information.”