Senator Durbin catches Facebook CEO off guard at congressional hearing

Zuckerberg gets baited on the data-leak scandal and the right to privacy.
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Facebook CEO testifying on Tuesday’s before combined Senate Judiciary and Commerce committee. Above - Mark Zuckerberg facing questions from Senator Dick Durbin (D) from Illinois.

Facebook CEO testifying on Tuesday’s before combined Senate Judiciary and Commerce committee. Above - Mark Zuckerberg facing questions from Senator Dick Durbin (D) from Illinois.

If you think Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg would dodge the grilling backed by his battery of lawyers and PR advisors, you are mistaken.

In a five-hour long testimony at Tuesday’s combined Senate Judiciary and Commerce committee hearing investigating Facebook’s abuse of its users’ private data, Senator Dick Durbin (D) from Illinois posed a question to billionaire CEO of the social media giant, whether he would be comfortable sharing the name of the hotel he stayed the previous night. A look of mild panic crossed the CEO’s face. After an awkward five-seconds pause, Zuckerberg said "Um…uuhh…No. ..” amidst nervous laughter.

While the hall erupted into laughter, the Senator pounded Zuckerberg again with another question, asking him whether he would share the names of people he has messaged this week. “If you’ve messaged anyone this week, would you share with us the names of the people you’ve messaged?” To which Zuckerberg promptly responded, “Senator, no, I would probably not choose to do that publicly here.” The Senator then said, “I think that might be what this is all about: your right to privacy, the limits of your right to privacy, and how much you’d give away in modern America.

Durbin’s questions got to the heart of the issue confronting the media major which is at the centre of the ongoing users’ data-sharing controversy. While users have a right to privacy, and they have a right to limit what personal data Facebook collects and shares with other parties, the above exchange showed Zuckerberg clearly values his own privacy, but appears to be least concerned with that of Facebook’s users.