Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook was called to testify before Congress, and he did an admirable job of saying what members of Congress wanted to hear. He was polite, took responsibility, and apologized for not doing more. It was very good television and scripted well for a CEO of a public company.
He apologized for not doing more to stop the Russian advertisements, said he would look into whether conservative voices and groups were discriminated against on Facebook, and did not know if liberal groups were being banned from Facebook. During the session, he said 21 times that he would “follow up” or “get with his team” to look into select matters.
Eg. (not verbatim) Question: Did Facebook and your support team help Cambridge Analytica with obtaining the information they wanted from Facebook users?
Answer: We provide support to any of our advertisers to make them more effective.
When pressed about Cambridge Analytica support, they got the “I’ll have to get back to you on that” answer.
I think members of Congress are naive in their thinking that Facebook will materially change the way of doing business. Facebook users with any common sense know that all of their information posted on Facebook is open to the public, to Facebook, to Advertisers, and to those looking to do harm or scam Facebook users. Remember, Facebook is a money making operation, a public company and tasked with growing revenue for shareholders.
Let’s look at 2nd Qtr 2017 Metrics:
- EPS: $1.32 vs. $1.13 expected, according to Thomson Reuters
- Revenue: $9.32 billion vs. $9.2 billion expected, according to Thomson Reuters
- Mobile ad revenue: $8 billion vs. $7.68 billion expected, according to StreetAccount
- Monthly users (MAUs): 2.01 billion vs. 1.98 billion expected, according to StreetAccount
- Capital expenditures: $1.44 billion vs. $1.73 billion expected, according to StreetAccount
THESE ARE SOME VERY IMPRESSIVE NUMBERS. Zuckerberg is not stupid and knows how to play the game. Congress does too. All this is for show and nothing will drastically change on Facebook.
What should happen is that Facebook should be classified as a publisher and be held accountable for what appears on their website and when they defame, discriminate, and block conservative voices they need to be held accountable. They are a liberal-leaning, California technology organization that will do everything to advance their political agenda.
If you believe in the rule of law, and a conservative approach do not look to Facebook to be your champion.