Facebook is 'responsible' for content
This is quite a statement from Mark Zuckerberg: "I agree that we are responsible for the content."
Facebook, like many online platforms, have for years clung to the notion of "safe harbor" — that tech platforms are most definitely NOT responsible for what's on their platform.
Zuckerberg contradicting that is no small thing — and something that could mean big changes for Facebook and other major tech companies it safe harbor becomes a thing of the past.
Final Status Update
Four hours and 54 minutes after he began testifying, Zuckerberg is done. He was contrite, and he neither agreed to nor objected to most of the senators’ suggestions, pet bills and light condemnations. As many senators noted, regulation could actually be a good thing for Facebook — as could a lack of new regulation. But all in all, Zuckerberg emerged unscathed.
Did Facebook have the right incentives?
Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., told Zuckerberg she wants to look into creating financial penalties for companies that don’t protect consumers’ private information.
“There is little incentive, whether it’s Facebook or Equifax, to actually be aggressive in protecting customer privacy,” said Hassan. “We’ve heard apologies but there is no financial incentive.” Zuckerberg said he’d look forward to a discussion of financial penalties, but he took issue with the idea that Facebook hasn’t felt pain.
“This episode has clearly hurt us,” he said.
While the company’s stock soared 4.5 percent Tuesday as Zuckerberg testified, its closing price of $165.04 per share was down from $193.09 on February 1.
'Your user agreement sucks' and other gems from Sen. Kennedy
In his relatively short time in the Senate, John Kennedy, R-La., has developed a reputation for delivering the best one-liners in the chamber. Though he had to wait four hours to question Zuckerberg Tuesday, he was ready with his quote machine. Here are the top 5 quotes from Kennedy.
1. "Your user agreement sucks."
2. "The purpose of that user agreement is to cover Facebook's rear end."
3. "I don’t want to regulate Facebook, but my God, I will."
4. "There are some impurities in the Facebook punch bowl."
5. And, he told the social network titan, "I feel like we’re not connecting."
We're in our last break of the day
We're in the final stretch for the evening! After the short break, there will be 13 remaining senators.
Finally, someone asks if Facebook is spying on us through smartphone microphones
Everything today has been a precursor to this.
Sen. Gary Peters, D-MI, asks whether Facebook is listening to people's conversations through microphones in their smartphones. This is an amazing question because there is a group of people who fervently believe that Facebook is always listening to us and then using that information to target ads.
This has been a running conspiracy theory that Mark Zuckerberg has now responded to.
Zuckerberg says that the company does not.
And really, isn't it more impressive that Facebook can target ads so well that people think all their conversations are being listened to?
No perfect solution on election protection
Democratic senators have asked Zuckerberg time and again what he plans to do to make sure Facebook doesn’t get used to improperly influence elections, and he says that’s a top priority heading into the 2018 midterms in November.
He wants to make it “much harder in the future” for outside actors to impropoerly interfere in elections.But, he said, he can’t promises that images spread in 2016 won’t appear on Facebook again.
“I can’t guarantee that,” he said. “I don’t think it would be a realistic expectation … that we’re going to have zero amount of that and that we’re going to be 100 percent successful” at preventing it.
Stay tuned for these three senators yet to come
We're just about halfway through questioning, but a few senators of note to keep your ears peeled for: John Kennedy of Louisiana destroys people with simple questions, and both Kamala Harris and Cory Booker who are widely expected to be running for president.
UPDATE: Harris and Booker, who had floor seats, have moved to the dais even though Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., is still at the tables on the floor. Why does that matter? They'll look more senatorial sitting behind the big wooden permanent dais, looking down at the witness, for any video clips they send around to supporters or that make later newscasts. To be clear, it's not just those two — senators from both parties, including those who are decidedly not running for president, have chosen to move from the floor seats to the main dais, which has many seats left empty from the departure of senators who already have asked their questions.
Senators introduce a privacy bill of rights
Timing! Senators Ed Markey, D-MA., and Richard Blumenthal, D-CT., have introduced a new bill that would force the Federal Trade Commission to create privacy rules to be enforced on big tech companies.
"America deserves a privacy bill of rights that puts consumers, not corporations, in control of their personal, sensitive information,” Markey said in a statement.
Zuckerberg corrects his answer on Cambridge Analytica
Zuckerberg comes back from break with a correction on his previous answer as to why Facebook didn't kick Cambridge Analytica off its platform. He said that his team told him that Cambridge Analytica was on the platform as an advertiser in 2015, contrary to his initial answer.
Cambridge Analytica Linked to Russian Trolls?
Senator Klobuchar asked Zuckerberg whether Cambridge Analytica and the Russian disinformation campaign run out of Saint Petersburg’s Internet Research Agency (IRA) many have been targeting the same users.
"We're investigating that now. We believe that it is entirely possible that there will be a connection there,” Zuckerberg answered.
Facebook estimates that 126 million people were exposed to IRA content on its platform while 87 million of its users’ data was swept up by Cambridge Analytica, but this is the first suggestion by the company that there may be a link between the two.
What is Total Information Awareness?
As MSNBC's Chris Hayes explains..."Total Information Awareness was the brainchild of John Poindexter, the Reagan administration official who got his conviction in the Iran-Contra scandal overturned on appeal. At the time, it was designed to be a sweeping new electronic data-mining program, to access all sorts of digital information from just about anywhere."