Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has formally apologised to Congress over the mistakes being made in the Cambridge Analytica scandal and emphasised that his company is rethinking its responsibility to prevent abuse of its platform.
During the five-hour hearing, Zuckerberg was grilled by 44 senators over Facebook's data collection practices, fake news, Russian interference during the 2016 presidential election and censorship of conservative media.
"It's clear now that we didn't do enough to prevent these tools from being used for harm as well. That goes for fake news, foreign interference in elections, and hate speech, as well as developers and data privacy," Zuckerberg said in an opening statement before a joint hearing of the Senate Judiciary and Commerce committees.
“We didn't take a broad enough view of our responsibility and that was a big mistake," he said, adding that, it was a big mistake. And I'm sorry. I started Facebook. I run it and I'm responsible for what happens here.
The most grilling line came from John Kennedy, a Republican representing Louisiana, who slammed Facebook for its complicated terms of service agreement.
"Your user agreement sucks. It's not to inform your users about their rights. I'm going to suggest to you that you go back home and rewrite it,” said Kennedy.
However, on the whole testimony, Facebook investors seemed to like his performance as the stock ended the day up 4.5 per cent.
When John Thune, Chairman of the Commerce Committee asked Zuckerberg why people should trust him now, Zuckerberg admitted that "we have made a lot of mistakes in running the company."
"It's pretty much impossible to start a company in your dorm room and grow it to the scale we are at now without making some mistakes," he said. Now, however, "I would say we are going through a broader philosophical shift in how we run the company."
The Congressional hearings come nearly a month after news broke that Cambridge Analytica, a British consulting firm with ties to President Donald Trump's campaign, accessed information from nearly 87 million Facebook users without their knowledge.
Zuckerberg will testify again on Wednesday before the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
In the days before the hearing, the social media giant has released new product and policy updates to better prevent users data.
Earlier this month, Facebook’s Chief Technology Officer Mike Schroepfer stated that Facebook will tell people if their information may have been improperly shared with Cambridge Analytica. Facebook will also show people a link at the top of their News Feed so they can see what apps they use — and the information they have shared with those apps. People will also be able to remove apps that they no longer want.
To better protect your data, Facebook will no longer allow apps to ask for access to personal information such as religious or political views, relationship status and details, custom friends lists, education and work history, fitness activity, book reading activity, music listening activity, news reading, video watch activity, and games activity.