Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg appearing before the Senate Judiciary and Tech Committees on Tuesday made some startling announcements that seemed to be well beyond the scope of why he was invited.
For those of you that thought this was supposed to be about him and his company allowing third-party users to harvest private data, you would be forgiven, because that was the impression we all got. In reality, the questions seemed more designed to implicate or damage Donald Trump than anything else.
We discovered that Zuckerberg is cooperating in the Robert Mueller investigation, that he feels he can't control “the Russians”, and that he just didn't know that Facebook user's private messages would be accessed.
Zuckerberg is not really to blame in this. The deal with Facebook is that if you sign up for it, you sign a user agreement that allows them to use your information to target specific ads to you. When a service is “free” it is often the case that YOU are the product.
But in this case, a quiz maker using Facebook, gathered user's data (and their connection's data) and provided it to someone else. Yes, each person had to click a waiver saying they understood this transaction, but perhaps the waiver was not quite clear enough. As one lawmaker put it, perhaps he should write them in English, “not Swahili.”
Our use of Facebook is transactional, if you don't want your data used, read the small print, and don't put it online if you are not comfortable with everyone else seeing it.