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LIVE BLOG – European lawmakers leave fuming as Zuckerberg gives broad answers

Tajani asks Zuckerberg whether it is possible to give individual answers to the questions posed at him on a later date. Zuckerberg agrees to this. The parliament disperses.

The lawmakers are unhappy with the format of the hearing and presses for answers. Zuckerberg says will follow up individually later. Lawmakers are irked as they were not given a chance to ask follow-up questions.

Mark is worried that the meeting is 15 minutes overdue and is giving the closing remarks. A few lawmakers who had asked binary questions are not happy with the Zuckerberg’s answers, but the Facebook CEO wants to finish the meeting.

“The changes made in 2018 will prevent another Cambridge Analytica kind of data breach. Is now going back and investigating all the apps and this will take a few months.”

Zuck talks on political bias. “We have never and will not make decisions on what content is allowed or ranking is done on political orientation,” Zuck says will soon have a clear history feature.

On competition and regulation, Zuckerberg repeats the same answers that he had given to the US Congress. Zuck wants “right regulation.” And “there are over eight different tools” that people use to stay in touch with friends.

With regards to upcoming elections, Zuck says will “try” to prevent interference. The game plan is a combination of the use of better AI tools and closer cooperation with the election commissions. Says he is “optimistic” about the future.

“We have developed a system to identify fake accounts as they are created. Have taken down 580 million fake accounts. Will continue to build it.”

Zuckerberg takes the stage. Time for answers. Time for action. Zuckerberg says is using more people and AI tools to flag content with regards to terror, self-harm, election interference. AI system can flag 99% of ISIS, Al-Queda content.

We are not sure if the “all questions first” method was a great choice for the hearing. Mark Zuckerberg will probably give broad answers to all the questions that are posed to him. 

What are you doing to stop cyber-bullying? How does Facebook merit comments and posts? Is the Cambridge Analytica scandal a one-off case or the tip of an iceberg? Can you promise that there will be an exchange of data between Facebook and WhatsApp.

Monopoly comes up once again at the European Parliament. Says some real accounts and pages have been blocked. So isn’t that arbitrary censorship? Has fake accounts given Facebook an opportunity to block pages according to its whims?

Will Facebook commit to systematically release data on all politically relevant advertising or referendum campaigns including their amounts, sources, and targets? Will Facebook commit to eradicating all the existing fake accounts? Who are the third-party fact checkers with regards to fake accounts and data security?

zuckerberg at European parliament
Mark Zuckerberg and AntonioTajani at European parliament

What exactly is Facebook doing against fake accounts? How will you guarantee that no manipulation happens from foreign forces? What do you do with the data of non-facebook users? How can non-facebook users ensure their data is not being misused.

Numerous questions are shot at Zuckerberg. Here are a few that came from the lawmakers. Can you guarantee the Europeans another data breach will not happen in the next six to nine months? Will you make your algorithms public in the future? Which is the one competitor of Facebook in Europe? Do you consider your company is a monopoly?

All the lawmakers will first ask the questions and Zuckerberg will answer them later.

Zuckerberg details on the measures Facebook has taken to stop fake news and foreign interference. Says will make advertising on Facebook more transparent. Promises more employment and investment in Europe in the coming years. Gets ready for questions.

Mark: “Enhanced safety measures might dent profitability but Facebook is more concerned about the security of the people. Have suspended more than 200 apps.” Zuck is basically saying the same things he said at the congress hearing.

Zuckerberg gives initial comments. Says refugees arriving in Europe are using business to stay connected with families and to form communities. Says sorry for not taking enough precautions to avoid a data breach. Will double the number of employees working on safety and security to more than 20,000 by the end of this year.

Tajani: Europe and the entire world are under threat from terrorism. Social media companies should do their best to halt their use by these organizations.

President of the European Parliament  AntonioTajani gives a welcome speech. Says they want to solve the concerns regarding data breach before the upcoming elections.

Mark Zuckerberg has arrived and is shaking hands with the lawmakers. They settle for the hearing to begin. All political groups are present and they apparently want to go into the technical aspects.

Facebook (FB) CEO Mark Zuckerberg may have emerged unscathed following the grilling by US lawmakers, but the hearing today at the European Parliament in Brussels will be a whole different ballgame. Europe’s privacy culture is a lot more uncompromising as compared to the US, to an extent that many lawmakers in the parliament are specialists in the field. The event starts at 12:20 PM ET.

Though the social media giant has already made changes to its privacy provisions to avoid any future debacles like the one associated with Cambridge Analytica, Zuckerberg will have a tough time convincing the lawmakers.

The hearing is important given the fact that the social media has more users in Europe than its home market, besides the conflict that already exists between the European Union and the US tech giants. The European regulators had earlier nullified a data sharing agreement with the US in 2015, alleging that the latter was resorting to unlawful mass surveillance.

They had also slapped search king Google, a unit of Alphabet Inc (GOOGL), with a $2.7 billion fine on antitrust charges last year, apart from leveling allegations against other companies including Apple (AAPL) and Amazon (AMZN).

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