By John Eggerton, Broadcasting & Cable Online, 4-10-18

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg faced an hours-long gauntlet of frequently unhappy legislators Tuesday (April 10), in the first of two Hill hearings on privacy and access to Facebook users data.

Among the takeaways of that grilling was that he would support, at least in principle, requiring opt-in consent for any Web site sharing user info with third parties.

Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) pressed Zuckerberg on whether he would support legislation – he has just introduced such a bill – that would require obtaining that opt– in permission to share user’s information with third parties. Zuckerberg answered “around” the question until ultimately saying he would support such legislation in principle and work with the senator.

The tenor of the hearing was tough, with legislators from both parties suggesting that Facebook was long on promises, but historically short on fixes.

Looking somewhat out of place in dark suit and tie, the usually casually attired Zuckerberg was anything but casual in his appearance or approach to the combined committees as he fielded often accusatory questions.

While the legislators conceded his success was emblematic of the American dream, they feared it was also turning into a privacy nightmare.

Zuckerberg was asked if Facebook was too powerful. He didn’t answer, though to another question he said he “certainly” didn’t think Facebook was a monopoly.

As he entered the hearing room Photographers massed around him as he sat alone – he was the single witness facing the senators – their cameras clicking and whirring like a swarm of locust.

He conceded during questioning that his company had responsibility over its content – rather than simply being a neutral platform – and that it would be doing more vetting of that content, including via artificial intelligence and doubling the number of people doing content review. He said the company had been founded as an idealistic and optimistic enterprise providing tools for good, but had ultimately not done enough to prevent harms to its users from those who misused those tools.

But he did not say he thought Facebook was a publisher or media company, but instead a tech company. » Read More