Mark Zuckerberg and US senators inspire endless memes — Facebook

The latest estimate of affected users is up to 87 million. It will look for misuses of personal information and then alert users if it finds anything suspicious.

Zuckerberg: Anyone can turn off and opt out of any data collection for ads, whether they use our services or not, but in order to prevent people from scraping public information... we need to know when someone is repeatedly trying to access our services. Several times, Zuckerberg promised to continue the conversation and provide a more detailed response after the hearing, especially when he didn't know something offhand. But it is Facebook that supposedly understands the social fabric that comprises your personality - your interactions with friends (or, better, "friends") your likes (or better, "likes") and so on.

In a hearing that was scheduled to last two hours yesterday, Mark Zuckerberg ended up answering questions from the US Senate committee members for over five hours about Facebook's responsibility to safeguard user privacy and the Cambridge Analytica data breach that has dominated headlines for weeks now.

Perhaps more important, they seemed to buy into the myth of Facebook's importance and the inevitability of its growing influence.

"I think the interesting regulatory approach is not a breakup or more privacy, but rather an unbundling of Facebook", said Chris Hoofnagle, a professor at UC Berkeley's Center for Law and Technology.

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The people Facebook thinks I'm interested in are Donald Trump, which would be hard to deny; the Mormon prophet Joseph Smith (I wrote a book about him); Gwyneth Paltrow (not really); and Elin Hilderbrand, the popular Nantucket novelist whose husband I one met at a Patriots game. He said the Russian campaign of disinformation had been discovered "right around the time" of the US presidential election, and said the company had developed "new AI tools" to identify fake accounts responsible.

But representative Fred Upton, a Michigan Republican, said regulation "could create a harmful barrier to entry for some startups, particularly ones that might want to compete with you". In his opening statement, Commerce Committee Chairman John Thune (R., S.D.) said, "Today's hearings are extraordinary". Those who say they have "nothing to hide" often forget about the information they hide all the time.

Although analysts generally seem to agree that Zuckerberg held his own, Enderle warns that the testimony is only symptomatic of more trouble yet to come for the social network.

Investors were impressed with his initial performance.

That Zuckerberg would dodge uncomfortable questions is a disappointment, though maybe no surprise. If so, Facebook could be subject to hefty fines. The biggest one was to go it alone.

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"The bull is limping", Lori Calvasina, head of U.S. equity strategy at RBC, said in a note on Tuesday.

SELYUKH: Zuckerberg says non-Facebook users are tracked to make sure they're, for example, not hackers or other malicious actors. I made mistakes. Big challenge but we've solved problems before. Of course not. If your information was stolen, no one would blame you for signing up to the platform in the first place.

GREG WALDEN: While Facebook has certainly grown, I worry it may not have matured.

Zuckerberg, wearing a dark suit instead of his usual gray T-shirt, navigated through the first hearing on Tuesday without making any further promises to support new legislation or change how the social network does business, foiling attempts by senators to pin him down.

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