New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez did not mince words against Facebook’s founder and Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg during the legislative inquiry of the financial services committee of the House of Representatives, Wednesday. Ocasio-Cortez threw hardball questions to Zuckerberg, especially those that are pertaining to the Cambridge Analytica scandal and Facebook’s reluctance to police political advertising on its platform.
The hearing called by the financial services committee of the House of Representatives has seen lawmakers grilled the young CEO of the social media giant as they tackle the regulatory impacts of the ambitious cryptocurrency project of Facebook: the Libra money.
“In order for us to make decisions about Libra, I think we need to kind of dig into your past behavior and Facebook’s past behavior with respect to our democracy,” Ocasio-Cortez said before proceeding to ask Zuckerberg when did he first know about the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Zuckerberg responded with: “around the time [the news] became public … around March of 2018”.
The CEO’s response solicited a follow-up question fro AOC asking him if any member of his management team has already had knowledge that Cambridge Analytica, a London-based PR firm, has been harvesting data from Facebook’s users.
“I believe some folks were tracking it internally,” Zuckerberg said. “I do think I was aware of Cambridge Analytica as an entity earlier, but I don’t know if I was tracking how they were using Facebook specifically.”
Reports surfaced earlier this year that Facebook employees had already flagged the operations of Cambridge Analytica months before it was publicly reported by the Guardian in December 2015.
“I get that I’m not the ideal messenger for this right now. We’ve faced a lot of issues over the past few years, and I’m sure there are a lot of people who wish it were anyone but Facebook that was helping to propose this,” he said.