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Mark Zuckerberg to Congress: My team will get back to you on that
This post was lasted updated on July 25 at 8:20 a.m. ET.
Congress finally got its chance to grill Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg back in April.
The hearings in both the Senate and the House were mainly focused on data collected by Facebook and the apps that live on its platforms, as well as how that data can be used. While lawmakers had a lot of questions, Zuckerberg did not always have an answer ready. Instead, he told lawmakers that his team would “follow up.” This is actually a pretty common practice at hearings for executives, but since April’s testimony, we’ve contacted the spokespeople of the Congress members who were promised a follow up and kept an eye on any updates from the company itself.
In June, Facebook ended up supplying different Congressional committees with over 1,000 pages in documents addressing most of their questions. (You can find them here, here and here.) But in some instances, the company said it would follow up again or it indirectly addressed some of the lawmakers’ concerns. We’ll continue to monitor any updates from the company and stay in touch with the offices of each Congress member, but in the meantime, you can check out Facebook’s responses below.
1. Did Facebook employees work with Cambridge Analytica on Trump’s campaign?
SEN. MARIA CANTWELL, D-WASH.: During the 2016 campaign, Cambridge Analytica worked with the Trump campaign to refine tactics. And were Facebook employees involved in that?
ZUCKERBERG: Senator, I don’t know that our employees were involved with Cambridge Analytica. Although I know that we did help out the Trump campaign overall in sales support in the same way that we do with other companies.
CANTWELL: So they may have been involved and all working together during that time period? Maybe that’s something your investigation will find out.
ZUCKERBERG: Senator, my — I can certainly have my team get back to you on any specifics there that I don’t know, sitting here today.
Response: Facebook said that during the 2016 election cycle, it “worked with campaigns to optimize their use of the platform,” and that included helping them understand different ad formats and providing best practices on how to use it.
SEN. ROGER WICKER, R-MISS.: There have been reports that Facebook can track a user’s Internet browsing activity, even after that user has logged off of the Facebook platform. Can you confirm whether or not this is true?
ZUCKERBERG: Senator — I — I want to make sure I get this accurate, so it would probably be better to have my team follow up afterwards.
WICKER: You don’t know?
WICKER: When — well, when you get …
ZUCKERBERG: … follow up with you on that.
WICKER: … when you get back to me, sir, would you also let us know how Facebook’s — discloses to its users that engaging in this type of tracking gives us that result?
3. Where are those pesky Russians hiding?
SEN. PATRICK J. LEAHY, D-VT.: Six months ago, your general counsel promised us that you were taking steps to prevent Facebook preserving what I would call an unwitting co-conspirator in Russian interference. But these — these unverified, divisive pages are on Facebook today. They look a lot like the anonymous groups that Russian agents used to spread propaganda during the 2016 election. Are you able to confirm whether they’re Russian-created groups? Yes or no?
ZUCKERBERG: Senator, are you asking about those specifically?
ZUCKERBERG: Senator, last week, we actually announced a major change to our ads and pages policies: that we will be identifying the identity of every single advertiser …
LEAHY: I’m asking about specific ones. Do you know whether they are?
ZUCKERBERG: I am not familiar with those pieces of content specifically.
LEAHY: But, if you decided this policy a week ago, you’d be able to verify them?
ZUCKERBERG: We are working on that now. What we’re doing is we’re going to verify the identity of any advertiser who’s running a political or issue-related ad — this is basically what the Honest Ads Act is proposing, and we’re following that. And we’re also going to do that for pages. So …
LEAHY: But you can’t answer on these?
ZUCKERBERG: I — I’m not familiar with those specific cases.
LEAHY: Well, will you — will you find out the answer and get back to me?
ZUCKERBERG: I’ll have my team get back to you.
Response: Facebook’s official statement on this: “In general, we take aggressive investigative steps to identify and disable groups that conduct coordinated inauthentic activities on the platform, but it is extremely challenging to definitively attribute online activity to particular threat actors. We often rely on information from others, like information from the government, to identify actors behind abuse that we observe and to better understand these issues. We would need more information in order to review the specific Pages referenced at the hearing.”
4. If I delete my account, how long does Facebook keep my data?
SEN. DEAN HELLER, R-NEV.: How long do you keep a user’s data, once they — after — after they’ve left? If they — if they choose to delete their account, how long do you keep their data?
ZUCKERBERG: I don’t know the answer to that off the top of my head. I know we try to delete it as quickly as is reasonable. We have a lot of complex systems, and it work — takes awhile to work through all that.
But I think we try to move as quickly as possible, and I can follow up or have my team follow up …
ZUCKERBERG: … to get you the — the data on that.
Response: If your Facebook account is deleted, the posts and content you create is also deleted. The exception would be if the account is subject to investigation, legal inquiry, or suspended due to violations of Facebook’s terms of service. In their response, Facebook did not address what might happen to the data that the company collects from users while they use Facebook.
Does Facebook delete the backups as well?
SEN. CORY GARDNER, R-COLO.: However, you understand that removed content may persist in backup copies for a reasonable period of time. How long is that?
ZUCKERBERG: Senator, I don’t know, sitting here, what our current systems are on that. But the intent is to get all the content out of the system as quickly as possible.
GARDNER: And does that mean your user data as well? It talks about I.P. content, is that the same thing as your user data; it can sit in backup copies?
ZUCKERBERG: Senator, I think that that is probably right. I — I don’t — I’m not sitting here today having full knowledge of — of our current state of the systems around wiping all of the data out of backups. So I can follow up with you on that afterwards, but what I can tell you …
GARDNER: But all backups get wiped?
ZUCKERBERG: That is certainly the way it’s — it — it’s supposed to work.
GARDNER: Has there ever been a failure of that?
ZUCKERBERG: Senator, I — I don’t know. But this is — if we tell people that we’re going to delete their data then we need to do that.
Response: Facebook says that when an account is deleted, the content they create such as posts or photos are also deleted. The only exceptions would be in case the account is the subject of an investigation, legal inquiry, or has been suspended after violating Facebook’s Terms of Service.
5. What apps did Facebook ban?
ZUCKERBERG to SEN. CHARLES E. GRASSLEY, R-IOWA, CHAIRMAN: As for past activity, I don’t have all the examples of apps that we’ve banned here, but if you would like, I can have my team follow up with you after this.
Response: From Facebook’s statement: “We review tens of thousands of apps per year and regularly disapprove noncompliant apps as part of our proactive review process. We also use tools like cease and desist letters, account suspensions, letter agreements, and civil litigation. For example, since 2006, Facebook has sent over 1,150 cease-and-desist letters to over 1,600 targets. In 2017, we took action against about 370,000 apps, ranging from imposing certain restrictions to removal of the app from the platform … To date around 200 apps (from a handful of developers: Kogan, AIQ, Cube You, the Cambridge Psychometrics Center, myPersonality, and AIQ) have been suspended—pending a thorough investigation into whether they did in fact misuse any data. Additionally, we have suspended an additional 14 apps, which were installed by around one thousand people.
6. What about audits?
GRASSLEY: Have you ever required an audit to ensure the deletion of improperly transferred data? And, if so, how many times?
ZUCKERBERG: Mr. Chairman, yes we have. I don’t have the exact figure on how many times we have. […] Mr. Chairman, I will have my team follow up with you on what information we have.
Response: See the answer provided to Sen. Grassley’s previous question.
7. How many bots has Facebook taken down?
SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN, D-CALIF., RANKING MEMBER: How many accounts of this type [bots that spread disinformation] have you taken down?
ZUCKERBERG: Across — in the Internet Research Agency specifically, the ones that we’ve pegged back to the IRA, we can identify the 470 in the American elections in the 270 that we specifically went after in Russia last week.
There were many others that our systems catch, which are more difficult to attribute specifically to Russian intelligence, but the number would be in the tens of thousands of fake accounts that we remove. And I’m happy to have my team follow up with you on more information, if that would be helpful.
Response: Facebook says that it’s recently taken down more than 270 pages and accounts controlled by the IRA that “primarily targeted either people living in Russia or Russian speakers around the world.”
8. What regulations would Facebook collaborate with Congress on?
SEN. LINDSEY O. GRAHAM, R-S.C.: So would you work with us in terms of what regulations you think are necessary in your industry?
GRAHAM: Okay. Would you submit to us some proposed regulations?
ZUCKERBERG: Yes. And I’ll have my team follow up with you so, that way, we can have this discussion across the different categories where I think that this discussion needs to happen.
GRAHAM: Look forward to it.
SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR, D-MINN.: Would you support a rule that would require you to notify your users of a breach within 72 hours?
ZUCKERBERG: Senator, that makes sense to me. And I think we should have our team follow up with — with yours to — to discuss the details around that more.
Response: The company said it would be open to notification requirements, along with legislation that would make the reporting process consistent across the U.S. However, it noted that reporting obligations vary widely across all 50 states, making it “harder to respond appropriately and swiftly to protect people in the event of a data breach.”
The company argues that publicizing a breach can actually have adverse effects and be exploited by “bad actors,” and also says that Europe’s data protection law (also known as the General Data Protection Regulation) doesn’t mandate that people get notified of every single breach. “The GDPR only requires notification to people in cases where there is a high risk of harm to an individual resulting from the breach and where the data controller is unable to mitigate that harm through subsequent measures that prevent continued access to the data, etc,” according to one of Facebook’s statements.
REP. DEBBIE DINGELL, D-MICH.: Can you commit to get the committee, the European Union is asking for 72 hours on transparency? Do you think we could get that back in committee in 72 hours?
ZUCKERBERG: Congresswoman, I will talk to my team and we will follow up.
REP. GENE GREEN, D-TEXAS: [European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation] also gives users the right to object to the processing of their personal data for marketing purposes, which, according to Facebook’s website, includes custom micro-target audiences for advertising.
Will the same right be object — to object be available to Facebook users in the United States? And how will that be implemented?
ZUCKERBERG: Congressman, I’m not sure how we’re going to implement that yet. Let me follow up with you on that.
Response: Facebook says it’s providing the same tools to people in the U.S. that it’s providing to those in the European Union under the GDPR. These controls and settings include an option for controlling the company’s use of face recognition on the platform and for its ability to use that it collects of Facebook Company Products to target ads.
REP. LEONARD LANCE, R-N.J.: Congresswoman Blackburn has mentioned her legislation. I’m a co-sponsor of the browser legislation. I commend it to your attention, to the attention of your company. It is for the entire ecosystem. It is for ISPs and edge providers. It is not just for one or the other. It is an opt-in system, similar to the system that exists in your — might I respectfully request of you, Mr. Zuckerberg, that you and your company review the browser legislation? And I would like your support for that legislation after your review of it.
ZUCKERBERG: We will review it and get back to you.
Response: Facebook said it “is generally not opposed to regulation but wants to ensure it is the right regulation” — an answer that it gives to many other questions in the document. The company added that it would follow up (again) with Rep. Lance.
9. Does Facebook use cross-device tracking?
SEN. ROY BLUNT, R-MO.: Do you collect user data through cross-device tracking?
ZUCKERBERG: Senator, I believe we do link people’s accounts between devices in order to make sure that their Facebook and Instagram and their other experiences can be synced between their devices.
BLUNT: And that would also include offline data, data that’s tracking that’s not necessarily linked to Facebook, but linked to one — some device they went through Facebook on, is that right?
ZUCKERBERG: Senator, I want to make sure we get this right. So I want to have my team follow up with you on that afterwards.
BLUNT: Well, now, that doesn’t seem that complicated to me. Now, you — you understand this better than I do, but maybe — maybe you can explain to me why that’s that — why that’s complicated.
Do you track devices that an individual who uses Facebook has that is connected to the device that they use for their Facebook connection, but not necessarily connected to Facebook?
ZUCKERBERG: I’m not — I’m not sure of the answer to that question.
ZUCKERBERG: Yes. There — there may be some data that is necessary to provide the service that we do. But I don’t — I don’t have that on — sitting here today. So that’s something that I would want to follow up on.
Response: Facebook says yes — the company has a data policy that discloses it associates information across different devices that people use. Information that Facebook obtains from these devices includes device attributes (e.g. operating system and hardware/software versions), device operations (e.g. mouse movements), identifiers, device signals, data from device settings, network and connections (e.g. the name of a user’s mobile operator or ISP) and cookie data.
10. How will the Bug Bounty program fit into this?
SEN. JERRY MORAN, R-KAN.: How do you — how do you see that the Bug Bounty program that you are — have announced will deal with the sharing of information not permissible, as compared to just unauthorized access to data?
ZUCKERBERG: Senator, I’m not — I’m not too sure I — I understand this enough to — to speak to — to that specific point, and I can have my team follow up with you on the details of that.
Response: Facebook says it has a Data Abuse Bounty Program, which “will reward people with first-hand knowledge and proof of cases where a Facebook platform app collects and transfers people’s data to another party to be sold, stolen, or used for scams or political influence.” If Facebook can confirm data abuse, it will shut down the app in question and may take legal action against the company selling or buying the data.
11. Where do the people affected live?
SEN. DEAN HELLER, R-NEV.: Can you tell me how many Nevadans were among the 87 million that received this notification [that their data was shared with Cambridge Analytica without their consent]?
ZUCKERBERG: Senator, I don’t have this broken out by state right now. But I can have my team follow up with you to get you the information.
KLOBUCHAR: Now on the subject of Cambridge Analytica, were these people, the 87 million people, users, concentrated in certain states? Are you able to figure out where they’re from?
ZUCKERBERG: I do not have that information with me, but we can follow up with your — your office.
Response: Facebook supplied Klobuchar with a link (available here) showing a state-by-state breakdown of people whose information may have been improperly shared with Cambridge Analytica. The top states include California (6,787,507), Texas (5,655,677), Florida (4,382,697), New York (4,368,051) and Pennsylvania (2,960,311).
12. Who else has the data that Cambridge Analytica has?
SEN. TAMMY BALDWIN, D-WIS.: Okay. Do you know whether Aleksandr Kogan sold any of the data he collected with anyone other than Cambridge Analytica?
ZUCKERBERG: Senator, yes, we do. He sold it to a couple of other firms.
BALDWIN: Can you identify them?
ZUCKERBERG: Yes, there’s one called Eunoia, and there may have been a couple of others as well. And I can follow up with …
BALDWIN: Can you furnish that to me after?
Response: Facebook says Aleksander Kogan claims he provided data to SCL (the parent company of Cambridge Analytica), Eunoia Technologies, and a researcher at the Toronto Laboratory for Social Neuroscience at the University of Toronto. However, according to Kogan, he only received payment from SCL/Cambridge Analytica.
REP. JAN SCHAKOWSKY, D-ILL.: I want to ask you — yesterday — following up on your response to Senator Baldwin’s question, you said yesterday that Kogan also sold data to other firms. You named Eunoia Technologies.
How many are there total? And what are their names? Can we get that? And how many are total — are there total?
ZUCKERBERG: Congresswoman, we can follow up with you to make sure you get all that information.
Response: See the above answer to Sen. Baldwin’s question.
13. What are you doing about Russian interference?
BALDWIN: Okay. I want to switch to my home state of Wisconsin.
According to press reports, my home state of Wisconsin was a major target of Russian-bought ads on Facebook in the 2016 election. These divisive ads, touching on a number of very polarizing issues, were designed to interfere with our election. We’ve also learned that Russian actors using another platform, Twitter, similarly targeted Wisconsin with divisive content aimed at sowing division and dissent, including in the wake of a police-involved shooting in Milwaukee’s Sherman Park neighborhood in August of 2016.
Now I find some encouragement in the steps you’ve outlined today to provide greater transparency regarding political ads. I do want to get further information on how you can be confident that you have excluded entities based outside of the United States.
ZUCKERBERG: We’ll follow up on that.
Response: Facebook says that all advertisers who want to run ads with political content targeted at the U.S. will have to confirm their identity and location by providing a U.S. driver’s license or passport, the last four digits of their Social Security number, and a residential mailing address. People who manage pages with a large number of followers will also have to be verified, and will no longer be able to post if they can’t clear the process.
REP. ELIOT L. ENGEL, D-N.Y.: Does Facebook have the ability to detect when a foreign entity is attempting to buy a political ad? And is that process automated? Do you have procedures in place to inform key government players when a foreign entity is attempting to buy a political ad or when it might be taking other steps to interfere in an election?
ZUCKERBERG: […] So we’re doing a number of things that — that I’m — that I’m happy to talk about, or follow up with afterward, around deploying new A.I. tools that can proactively catch fake accounts that Russia or others might create to spread misinformation.
Response: Facebook said that it has technical systems, which it’s continually updating, to detect and deactivate fake accounts so that it can reduce “spam, false news, and misinformation.” However, Facebook stated it does not share details of how its tools works so that it can avoid “providing a road map to bad actors who are trying to avoid detection.”
14. How the heck does Messenger for kids work?
WICKER: You can opt in or out of [Messenger app]?
ZUCKERBERG: Yes. It is opt-in.
WICKER: It is easy to opt out?
ZUCKERBERG: It is opt-in. You — you have to affirmatively say that you want to sync that information before we get access to it.
WICKER: Unless you — unless you opt in, you don’t collect that call and text history?
ZUCKERBERG: That is correct.
WICKER: And is that true for — is this practice done at all with minors, or do you make an exception there for persons aged 13 to 17?
ZUCKERBERG: I do not know. We can follow up with that.
Response: Facebook says it does allow people aged 13-17 to opt in, but it takes steps aimed at protecting teens on Facebook and Messenger, like providing education before allowing teens to post publicly and barring unconnected adults from messaging minors who are 13-17.
15. Does Aleksandr Kogan, who collected the data at the heart of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, still have an account on Facebook?
SEN. SHELDON WHITEHOUSE, D-R.I.: Your testimony says that Aleksandr Kogan’s app has been banned. Has he also been banned?
ZUCKERBERG: Yes, my understanding is he has.
WHITEHOUSE: So if he were to open up another account under a name and you were able to find out that would be taken — that would be closed down?
ZUCKERBERG: Senator, I believe we — we are preventing him from building any more apps.
WHITEHOUSE: Does he have a Facebook account still?
ZUCKERBERG: Senator, I believe the answer to that is no, but I can follow up with you afterwards.
Response: “Kogan’s personal accounts have been suspended, as have the personal accounts of some Cambridge Analytica officers,” according to Facebook.
16. Can — and will — Facebook change the default settings to minimize potential for data collection?
REP. FRANK PALLONE JR., D-N.J.: But I’d like you to answer yes or no, if you could. Will you make the commitment to change all the user — to changing all the user default settings to minimize, to the greatest extent possible, the collection and use of users’ data?
That’s — I don’t think that’s hard for you to say yes to, unless I’m missing something.
ZUCKERBERG: Congressman, this is a complex issue that I think is — deserves more than a one-word answer.
PALLONE: Well, again, that’s disappointing to me, because I think you should make that commitment. And maybe what we could do is follow up with you on this, if possible — if that’s okay. We can do that follow-up?
Response: “We regularly review and update our settings to help people protect their privacy and give people choices about how their information is used and who can see it.”
17. What data is being sold?
REP. STEVE SCALISE, R-LA.: So my question would be, is that data that is mined for security purposes also used to sell as part of the business model?
ZUCKERBERG: Congressman, I believe that those are — are — that we collect different data for those. But I can follow up on the details of — of that.
SCALISE: All right. If you could follow up, I would appreciate that.
18. Is Facebook censoring specific groups?
SCALISE: And you mentioned the Diamond and Silk example, where there — you — you, I think, described it as a mistake. Were the people who made that mistake held accountable in any way?
ZUCKERBERG: Congressman, let me follow up with you on that. That situation developed while I was here, preparing to testify, so I’m not…
ZUCKERBERG: … details on it.
Response: Facebook said that the company “mishandled communication with Diamond and Silk for months. Their frustration was understandable, and we apologized to them. The message they received on April 5, 2018 that characterized their Page as ‘dangerous’ was incorrect and not reflective of the way we seek to communicate with our community and the people who run Pages on our platform.”
The company then reiterated their response to Rep. McMorris Rodgers (see below) about taking measures to ensure it is not discriminating against content.
REP. FRED UPTON, R-MICH.: And, to follow up a question with — that Mr. Barton asked about Silk and Diamond — I don’t know whether you know about this particular case — I have a former state rep who’s running for state senate. He’s the former Michigan Lottery commissioner, so he’s a guy of — of fairly good political prominence.
He is a — he announced for state senate just in the last week, and he had what I thought was a rather positive announcement. It’s — and I’ll read to you precisely what it was.
“I’m proud to announce my candidacy for state senate. Lansing needs conservative west Michigan values, and, as our next state senator, I will work to strengthen our economy, limit government, lower our auto insurance rates, balance the budget, stop sanctuary cities, pay down government debt, be a pro-life, pro-2nd-Amendment lawmaker.”
And it was rejected. And the response from you all was it wasn’t approved because it doesn’t follow our advertising policies. We don’t allow ads that contain shocking, disrespectful or sensational content, including ads that depict violence or threats of violence. I’m not sure where the threat was, based on what he tried to post.
ZUCKERBERG: Congressman, I’m not sure either. I’m not familiar with that specific case. It’s quite possible that we made a mistake, and we’ll follow up afterward to — on that.
Response: In the case of an ad for a state senate candidate in Michigan getting taken down – Facebook took full responsibility. According to the document submitted to the committee, an automated system automatically rejected the advertisement – along with thousands of other ads, including “an ad for a progressive news article.” As a result of the incident, the automated rule was turned off.
19. What is Facebook doing to make sure it’s not discriminating against content it doesn’t like?
REP. CATHY MCMORRIS RODGERS, R-WASH.: In November, FCC Chairman Pai even said that edge providers routinely block or discriminate against content they don’t like. This is obviously a serious allegation.
How would you respond to such an allegation? And what is Facebook doing to ensure that its users are being treated fairly and objectively by content reviewers?
ZUCKERBERG: Congresswoman, the principle that we’re a platform for all ideas is something that I care very deeply about. I’m worried about bias, and we take a number of steps to make sure that none of the changes that we make are targeted at — in any kind of biased way.
And I’d be happy to follow up with you and go into more detail on that, because I agree that this is a serious issue.
Response: After assertions of political bias surfaced, Facebook launched an investigation into their Trending Topic feature. According to Facebook, the investigation did not reveal any “evidence of political bias in the selection or prominence of stories” included in the Trending Topic feature. They said that they were also unable to prove multiple accusations of politically-charged suppression of content. Despite this, Facebook outlined several initiatives the company has put forward to reduce and prevent bias in their work, such as enlisting a former United States senator to help advise their team, and providing users with an appeals process to contest decisions Facebook has made regarding posts. Facebook has also committed to “working with third-party fact checkers to let people know when they are sharing news stories (excluding satire and opinion) that have been disputed or debunked.”
20. What’s Facebook’s reach beyond its website?
DINGELL: So I want to ask you, how many Facebook like buttons are there on non-Facebook web pages?
ZUCKERBERG: Congresswoman, I don’t know the answer to that off the top my head, but we’ll get back to you.
DINGELL: Is the number over hundred million?
ZUCKERBERG: I believe we’ve served the like button on pages more than that, but I don’t know the number of pages that have the like button on actively.
DINGELL: How many share buttons are there on non-Facebook web pages?
ZUCKERBERG: I don’t know the answer to that exactly off the top my head either, but that’s something that we can follow up with you on.
DINGELL: And do we think that’s over 100 million likely? How many chunks of Facebook pixel code are there on non-Facebook webpage?
ZUCKERBERG: Congresswoman, you’re asking some specific stats that I don’t know off the top of my head, but we can follow up with you and get back to you on all of these.
Response: Facebook says that for sites that used the company’s services during the week prior to April 16, 2018, the Like button appeared on 8.4 million websites, the Share button was on 931,000 websites covering 275 million webpages, and 2.2 million Facebook pixels were installed on websites.
21. Should people be able to correct or delete inaccurate personal data that companies have about them?
REP. PETER WELCH, D-VT.: Okay. And do you believe that consumers should be able to correct or delete inaccurate personal data that companies have obtained?
ZUCKERBERG: Congressman, that one might be more interesting to debate, because…
WELCH: Well, then, let’s get — you get back to us with specifics on that. I think they do have that right.
Response: Facebook (kind of) sidestepped Rep.Welch’s question, and instead used it as a way to explain the manner in which they collect and retain data per their Data Policy. According to their policy, Facebook has three categories in which they sort data: “(1) data about things people do and share (and who they connect with) on our services; (2) data about the devices people use to access our services; and (3) data we receive from partners, including the websites and apps that use our business tools.” Although Facebook never outright explains whether or not people should be able to correct or delete inaccurate personal data, they do explain that they generally do not retain data from users who delete their account.
Despite the unclear answer, Facebook also explains they “need to take a broader view of our responsibility to our community” and are commitment to efforts to protecting data from user accounts.
22. Is Facebook sharing info with Russian intelligence companies?
REP. ADAM KINZINGER, R-ILL.: If you’re giving Russian intelligence service agencies, potentially, even on a valid request, access to global data that’s not in Russia, is that kind of a disadvantage to us and an advantage to them?
ZUCKERBERG: Congressman, let me be more precise in my testimony.
KINZINGER: Sure. Yeah, please.
ZUCKERBERG: I have no specific knowledge of any data that we’ve ever given to Russia. In general, we’ll work with valid law enforcement requests in different countries, and we can get back to you on what that might mean with Russia, specifically. But I have no knowledge, sitting here, of any time that we would have given them information.
Response: Facebook only outlined their processes around government requests for information in their response. When handling information requests from any agency, Facebook explained that they follow a strict terms of service and any applicable laws. “We require officials to provide a detailed description of the legal and factual basis for their request, and we push back if the request appears to be legally deficient or is overly broad, vague, or otherwise inconsistent with our policies” In instances of foreign government data requests, Facebook may also request a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty or letter rogatory. Facebook also produces Transparency Reports outlining government data requests, which includes Russian requests for data. Russian requests date back to 2013, and between 2013 and 2017, Facebook received 34 requests for information and did not provide any data in response.
23. How much information does Facebook have on non-Facebook users?
REP. BEN RAY LUJAN, D-N.M.: On average, how many data points does Facebook have on each Facebook user?
ZUCKERBERG: I do not know off the top of my head.
LUJAN: So the average for non-Facebook platforms is 1,500. It’s been reported that Facebook has as many as 29,000 data points for an average Facebook user. You know how many points of data that Facebook has on the average non-Facebook-user?
ZUCKERBERG: Congressman, I do not off the top of my head, but I can have our team get back to you afterwards.
Response: According to Facebook, when an individual visits the site, there is no identifying information that is collected nor or are any profiles created on their behalf. Facebook does, however, use web browser and app logs that detail a user’s activity. Facebook says that this is done in order to search for inauthentic users, but also to aggregate insights behind users’ activity. Advertisements are shown to non-Facebook users, however they are “unrelated to the attributes of the person or an ad encouraging the non-user to sign up for Facebook.” Facebook also collects information including what devices the user is accessing Facebook on, IP addresses, app versions, and other device identifiers.
Back in May, Facebook also sent Lujan a Facebook post on twitter detailing its plans to build a tool that will allow Facebook users the ability to clear their browsing history on Facebook and look at information connected to the apps and websites they’ve interacted with.
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