Zuckerberg denies knowledge of Facebook shadow profiles

He also could not recall whether Facebook received a financial penalty related to a 2011 consent decree over privacy issues with the Federal Trade Commission (It didn't, she reminded him). Those problems, however, went nearly unmentioned on Capitol Hill. Lawmakers tried a couple of times to get Zuckerberg to say this, but he never did.

Zuckerberg was unable to answer Dingell, the MI congresswoman, when she asked how frequently Facebook used computer code embedded in websites to gather dossiers on virtually everyone online.

There are plenty of real-world examples already.

- Do not browse web in the same browser on which you also have Facebook open. The few brands that have abandoned Facebook recently-Pep Boys, Mozilla, Sonos (for a week)-are just making a statement, says Brian Wieser, a senior analyst at Pivotal Research Group. Apparently, the pair had their content flagged by Facebook for being "unsafe".

Zuckerberg did not mention Burma in his prepared remarks this week, but he was was asked about it.

"Yes or no", asked Sen. About one in three lawmakers got that response over the two days.

Technology journalist for The Guardian Alex Hern, who covers Facebook extensively, wrote on Twitter: "It is unthinkable to me that Zuckerberg is not familiar with the concept of "shadow profiles", and the absence of a straight denial that they exist is probably the strongest evidence that yes, Facebook continues to maintain shadow profiles". Such measures should also strengthen the Federal Trade Communication, which has a 2011 consent decree against Facebook that remains one of the USA government's most powerful protections against future privacy abuses.

"We have communicated directly with Diamond and Silk about this issue". Facebook will be disabling this feature.

The news is a delivery system for misery of course, especially now, but Facebook brings us news we might otherwise never encounter, supplying it in bulk and elevating our relationship to it.

We'd be pretty concerned about losing almost 20 million sets of eyeballs on ads, but according to Tech.pinions, those numbers might not even have Facebook anxious.

Eighty-seven percent of adults use Facebook or one of its products like photo-sharing app Instagram or chat app WhatsApp.

The hearings generated much heat but little light, as was predicted by Zeynep Tufekci, a professor at the University of North Carolina and one of the keenest observers of Facebook and our evolving digital landscape.

Such drastic measures are clearly not ideal - indeed, they raise their own questions about censorship and free speech.

And Facebook doesn't even stop at modifying behavior.

To his credit, Zuckerberg acknowledged the need to hire more people with local language skills and work with civic organizations to identify potential problems quickly. "We've got to fix that", he said.

The company also cited a Facebook comment it left for them.

With congressional hearings over and no immediate momentum behind calls for regulation, the biggest hammer still hanging over Facebook in the U.S.is a fresh FTC investigation. And winning back the trust of millions of users is going to take a long time and a lot of effort.

The stakes are high for Facebook in Europe, where consumer protection watchdogs have proven willing to challenge USA tech giants on many fronts - from penalizing Google $2.7 billion for threatening competition to charging Apple more than $15 billion on the grounds that it failed to pay taxes.

Facebook is starting to notify its users if their information was shared with Cambridge Analytica. That was likely true in the aftermath of controversies involving Russians exploiting Facebook's platform to interfere with the 2016 presidential election, and it will be fascinating to see if or how the Cambride Analytica scandal has changed that dynamic.

  • Leroy Wright