Zuckerberg Faces Senate Hearing But Little Hope For Action
“Zuckerberg Faces Senate Hearing But Little Hope For Action” : The prospect of new laws restricting Facebook and other Internet companies, however, is extremely unlikely not only because of the lack of political will and effective lobbying of tech companies, but because few legislators want to deal with the complexity of the issues involved. .
Zuckerberg is scheduled to testify before a joint hearing of the Senate Commerce and Judiciary Committees.
He is facing the combined outrage over how Russia used Facebook to spread divisive political propaganda during the US presidential election in 2016 and how Facebook seemed unaware that a political consultancy, Cambridge Analytica, collected personal data of about 87 million Facebook users, mostly Americans.
Sen. Bill Nelson, the top Democrat on the Senate Commerce Committee, said on Monday that although he believed the new regulation would be necessary in the face of Facebook scandals, he did not expect anything substantial to happen.
He attributed this in part to Tuesday’s joint hearing format before the Senate Commerce and Judiciary committees, which will give Zuckerberg an advantage, saying it would favor the show rather than a thoughtful dialogue.
“How in the world can you have 44 senators holding a hearing that has a lot of substance when every senator has only four minutes?” Nelson asked reporters on Monday.
Senator Dianne Feinstein, the Judiciary Committee’s top Democrat, told reporters after talking to 33-year-old “Zuckerberg” that he was “a very nice young man” who “obviously knows what he’s doing and has a very nice personality”.
PRIVACY ADVOCATES OUTNUMBERED
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders declined to say on Monday whether new regulations would be needed. “I do not have a specific policy announcement on that front, but I think we’re all looking forward to that testimony.”
Republicans are generally against more corporate regulations and are not convinced that technology companies need more. “I do not want to hurt ‘Facebook’, I do not want to regulate them to death,” said Republican Senator John Kennedy of Louisiana, a member of the Judiciary Committee. “But we have a problem; our promised digital utopia has mined fields.”
Companies that have been victimized by computer hacks have been accused by lawmakers of failing to take adequate security measures to protect their customers’ personal information.
Executives from a number of companies, including Target Corp., Alphabet’s Google, United Airlines and Equifax, have testified before Congress on a variety of issues including the network. And left with little more than a grudge and a temporary drop in stock prices.
Powerful lobbying forces come together against any effort to turn public and political outrage into regulation, privacy advocates said. Facebook spent $ 1.35 million in lobby in 2011 and six years later spent $ 11.5 million, according to data maintained by the Center for Responsive Politics.
“People have the idea that we will approve the omnibus privacy legislation and it will be a silver bullet,” said Alvaro Bedoya, a former congressional aide who worked on privacy issues for former Senator Al Franken. “The reality is that lobbyists outperform consumer privacy advocates in Washington, 20 to 1 or 30 to 1.”
Instead of major regulatory changes, legislators in Congress offered strictly focused legislation.
The Honest Ads Act, for example, aims to address concerns about foreigners who secretly buy ads on social media to influence American politics. That would require political ads on the internet to reveal who paid for them, just like ads on television and radio. Legislation has been stalled since its introduction last October, although Facebook has endorsed it on Friday.
Congress passed legislation last month that failed with the Decree of Decency of Communications of 1996, which for decades protected Internet companies from responsibility for what users post on their platforms.
Zuckerberg Faces Senate Hearing
The legislation, to be sanctioned this week by US President Donald Trump, aimed to penalize website operators who facilitate online sex trafficking. Internet companies expressed concern that this could be the first step to dismantling decades of a regulatory approach without Washington.
Authorities in the technology industry said they also expect Zuckerberg’s testimony to be lengthy in terms of political scoring and lack of legislative thinking.
“They do not understand the targeting of ads and will probably ask him a lot of questions unrelated to their respective political bases,” said a technology industry source who spoke on condition of anonymity because his company did not authorize him to speak about it for the record.
“So the Democrats are going to ask about monopolies and Republicans are going to ask about the anti-conservative prejudice in Silicon Valley.”