WASHINGTON/SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Mark Zuckerberg on Wednesday told lawmakers he was among the 87 million Facebook Inc users whose data was improperly shared with a political consultancy, but rejected suggestions that users do not have enough control over their data on the world’s largest social media network.
His admission that his own data made its way into the hands of Cambridge Analytica laid bare that even the company’s technologically adept founder and chief executive was unable to protect his own information from parties seeking to exploit it.
That underscores the problem Facebook has in persuading lawmakers that users can safeguard their own information if they carefully manage their personal settings and that further legislation governing Facebook’s use of data is unnecessary.
“Every time that someone chooses to share something on Facebook ... there is a control. Right there. Not buried in the settings somewhere but right there,” the 33-year-old internet billionaire told the U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee.
Yet, when asked if his data had been improperly used, he replied: “Yes.” He gave no further details.
The problem of data privacy dominated the hearing, which was more focused and antagonistic than a hearing the day before in front of two Senate committees. Wearing a dark suit and tie and prefacing almost every remark with “Congressman” or “Congresswoman,” Zuckerberg appeared even more controlled than he did on Tuesday, as he refrained from cracking jokes and flashed few smiles.
“How can consumers have control over their data when Facebook does not have control over the data?” asked Representative Frank Pallone of New Jersey, the ranking Democrat on the Energy and Commerce committee, at the beginning of the hearing.
Zuckerberg repeatedly defended the company’s practices, saying that users have control over their