Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg will defend the social media platform as a “positive force in the world” before Congress today. Zuckerberg is expected to answer many questions regarding the Cambridge Analytica privacy scandal and the alleged abuse of its platform by Russian agents to undermine western democracies.
In the last few weeks, Zuckerberg and the company’s chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg have appeared on TV and other media outlets in a bid to repair the damage caused by the privacy breach. The social media giant has also announced several privacy changes to its platform designed to add more security to user data. However, it’s the testimony before Congress that has grabbed all the headlines. This is the first time that Mark Zuckerberg is appearing in front of Congress.
The CEO’s prepared remarks are expected to reinforce his view that Facebook has indeed played a positive role in society in the years it has been in existence. The Facebook co-founder is expected to highlight the #MeToo movement as a clear indicator of how the social media platform has transformed society for the better. The March for Our Lives which was partly organized through Facebook will also be highlighted. Zuckerberg is also expected to note how Facebook played a central role in raising relief funds after Hurricane Harvey and how the social media platform is helping millions of small businesses succeed and create jobs around the world.
Zuckerberg has already admitted that Facebook had failed to anticipate that its platform could have been used for bad intentions. It seems though that the Cambridge Analytica scandal is pushing the company to act decisively. The testimony will give the CEO the opportunity to share the strategies that the company intends to put in place to prevent such a data breach in the future.
In the prepared remarks, Zuckerberg will outline the measures that Facebook is taking to prevent third-party companies from accessing user data without their knowledge. Zuckerberg will also explain to lawmakers that the amount of data that can be accessed by a given app will be limited to the user’s name, profile photo, and email address only. Advertisers who want to run political ad campaigns on the platform will need to be verified too.
The Facebook CEO is expected to concede that the company was very slow in reacting to the alleged Russian interference. Zuckerberg will also confirm that at least 126 million people were affected by this interference. Finally, the Facebook co-founder will explain how the company is rededicating resources towards privacy and security in a bid to counter privacy threats in the future.
Zuckerberg’s prepared remarks show that Facebook has already dedicated 15,000 people to work on data security. The number is expected to rise to 20,000 by the end of the year. Despite these scandals, Zuckerberg will present a strong defense for Facebook. The CEO will argue that even though Facebook has faced challenges, the overall impact it has had on the world is indeed very positive.