On Tuesday April 11th, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg appeared in the first day of questioning from the U.S. senate for his company’s recent information breach. With nearly 600 questions spanning two days, the 33-year-old faced both the Senate Commerce Committee and the House Energy and Commerce Committee to figure out the specifics of the Facebook data breach; as well as to figure out where to go from this point.
In March, it was revealed that the tech-giant had suffered an information breach from approximately 87 million profiles of users around the world; 70 million of whom are from the United States. The profiles were ‘harvested’ by Cambridge Analytica in what is being called one of the ‘largest data breaches in history’ by USA Today.
Cambridge Analytica is infamously known to have worked with Donald Trump’s political campaign to help influence voters by building a software program prior to the 2016 election. Facebook is rumored to have discovered the breach in late 2015, yet users were only notified this year after the breach came into light.
The information of the users that was harvested by Cambridge Analytica was then passed on to Steve Bannon, Trump’s chief campaign strategist at the time, in order to help swing voters. Mark Zuckerberg has repeatedly addressed that Facebook did not sell or willingly give up the information of the users, as that, he says, is a violation of their community guidelines.
In the month following the breach, Facebook has been reevaluating safety and security precautions to assure the platform’s 2.2 billion users’ identities remain protected. The 70 million Facebook users who had their information stolen were notified of so just days before the senate hearing as well.
Zuckerberg has also clearly shown his remorse for the breach throughout the hearing and the days leading up to it, stating on day two of the hearing, “It was my mistake, and I’m sorry. I started Facebook, I run it and I’m responsible for what happens here.”
So far, Facebook stocks have only fallen slightly following news of the breach, and they’re expected to remain high. At this point, it is safe to say that Facebook won’t be overthrown as one of the most popular social media platforms in the world, and this breach’s long-term effect will be a mild one.