Mark Zuckerberg testimony: In marathon grilling, Facebook founder promises to maintain integrity of Indian elections

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New Delhi | Published: April 11, 2018 9:28:21 AM

Mark Zuckerberg is under fire after disclosures that controversial data-mining British firm Cambridge Analytica (CA) had harvested details of 87 million Facebook users without their knowledge to influence the elections.

Mark Zuckerberg testimony, facebook Mark Zuckerberg, Mark Zuckerberg News, Mark Zuckerberg cambridge analytica, Cambridge analyticaMark Zuckerberg testimony: In marathon grilling, Facebook founder promises to maintain integrity of Indian elections

In his first testimony before the Congress since the data scandal rocked social media giant Facebook, its founder Mark Zuckerberg accepted that the firm didn’t do enough to prevent the platform from being misused by others. During the five hours of Senate questioning, Zuckerberg apologised several times, adding that Facebook focused on all of the good that connecting people can do. The 33-year-old executive also assured that he will do best to maintain the integrity of upcoming elections in India. “2018 is an important year for the whole world. Several countries like India, Pakistan will have elections. We will do everything possible to ensure these elections are safe,” Zuckerberg said.

The Facebook CEO is under fire after disclosures that controversial data-mining British firm Cambridge Analytica (CA) had harvested details of 87 million Facebook users without their knowledge to influence the elections. In India, a major controversy erupted when former CA employee Christopher Wylie named Congress and JD(U) as its clients before a British Parliamentary panel. He had disclosed that the CA’s India arm Ovelina Business Intelligence (OBI), headed by JD(U) leader KC Tyagi’s son Amrish, had undertaken research work for many political parties during elections.

He also disclosed that his company was working with special counsel Robert Mueller to probe the Russian election interference in the US presidential elections. Zuckerberg said that his firm was working hard to change its own operations, adding that it is not enough to just connect people but also to make sure those connections are positive. “It’s not enough to give people a voice. We have to make sure people aren’t using it to harm people or spread disinformation,” he said.

He said that Facebook didn’t take a broad enough view of its responsibility and that was a big mistake. “And it was my mistake and I am sorry,” Zuckerberg said.

Zuckerberg asserted that the company was getting to the bottom of exactly what Cambridge Analytica did. He said that what he knows is that the data-mining company improperly accessed information by buying it and when it was contacted, the London-based firm said that all details have been deleted from its database.

Zuckerberg noted that in 2014 Facebook had made some big changes that have prevented this specific situation with CA from occurring again today. But, he said, there is more to do. Talking about his priority, he said that the mission is to connect people, building community and bringing the world closer together.

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