Why today's Facebook hearings won't - and shouldn't - change much (yet)

Why today's Facebook hearings won't - and shouldn't - change much (yet)

Why today's Facebook hearings won't - and shouldn't - change much (yet)

But this time, it was as if part of the president's election team said I wasn't worth the time. It's not clear what that regulation would look like and Zuckerberg didn't offer any specifics. Republicans pressed him on whether Facebook suppresses conservative views.

Zuckerberg also faced a number of questions about whether Facebook had tracked the activity of non-Facebook users, or whether it had tracked members' activities after they logged off the site.

CORNISH: I want to go back to the controversy that led to these hearings that the political firm Cambridge Analytica got data on millions of Facebook users without their consent - any news on that front?

New Jersey Rep. Frank Pallone, the top Democrat on the panel and a 30-year veteran of the House, said at the beginning of the hearing that he plans to work on legislation but is pessimistic that Congress will pass anything.

A new question asked this year found that 55 percent of surveyed users are "very concerned" and 25 percent are "somewhat concerned" that their personal information may be "sold to and used by other companies and organizations".

"Facebook has no incentive to charge us", said Siva Vaidhyanathan, professor at the department of media studies at Virginia University, who has a book due out in October titled "Antisocial Media: How Facebook Disconnects Us and Undermines Democracy".

Although much of the current worldwide discussion about internet privacy is focused on Facebook's recently publicized policies and failures, the Gallup poll also found a greater number of Google users are concerned about their protecting their privacy when using the platform-35 percent are "very concerned", a 10-point jump from 2011.

Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg navigated through the first of two United States congressional hearings without making any further promises to support new legislation or change how the social network does business. Zuckerberg asserted that Facebook did not sell data.

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"What we saw at these hearings is that he is resisting changing the business model of Facebook, which is based entirely on harvesting user data and taking that data and use that data to help target ads", David McCabe, a tech reporter with Axios, told Al Jazeera. Facebook shares rose five percent on Tuesday and added another 0.78 percent Wednesday in what was seen as a sign of confidence in the company after steep losses in recent weeks.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Wednesday endured a second day of congressional criticism during a hearing of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

"There is absolutely no directive to put a bias into anything we do", Zuckerberg said in response to a question by Rep. Steve Scalise, R-Louisiana, about whether Facebook's algorithms have bias built in.

He also disclosed that his company was "working with" special counsel Robert Mueller in the federal probe of Russian election interference and said it was working hard to change its own operations in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica revelations. Stressing that there is an online propaganda "arms race" with Russian Federation and it was important to make sure no one interferes in any more elections including in India, Zuckerberg told Congress that his own personal data was "improperly shared".

The established ways of business, politics and Government can no longer deal with this adequately - as everything from the influence of fake social media in the U.S. presidential election to the Cambridge Analytica data scandal, to the epidemic of gang violence on London's streets shows.

Earlier this year Mueller charged 13 Russian individuals and three Russian companies in a plot to interfere in the 2016 presidential election through a social media propaganda effort that included online ad purchases using US aliases and politicking on USA soil. Would an ad-free, paid version of Facebook work, anyway?

Facebook is neither a media or a financial institution, he said. He assured senators the company would handle the situation differently today.

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