tv The Communicators Goodman O Connor on Facebook CSPAN April 19, 2018 9:01am-10:01am EDT
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what was discussed and what potential outcomes of the investigation is our topic this week on the communicators and two long time washington insiders are here at the table to help us break down the hearings. lee goodman is an attorney. he's a former member of the federal election commission and, in fact, former chair of fcc annual-- and nuala o'connor. let's begin with you. what were the facebook hearings originally about and what did we learn over the two days. >> i think the inquiry starts with a perception at least somehow what people saw on-line affected their understanding of the world in the context of the most recent election. folks in the united states saw the brexit decision in the u.k., there's a big concern in the united kingdom a concern
about cambridge analytica. but how the data is used and processed in which we engage in the on-line world in a pervasive way. and people were surprised that what's my favorite dog breed or favorite color is amalgamated on contexts. >> and those on-line quizzes, those give information to people? >> if you amalgamate information about people or groups of people, what decisions they're going to make or what messages they're most likely to respond to. this is not new. i challenge the kids i work with about whether this is really a new thing or whether it's new to us in the internet
space because magazines and newspapers would try to predict what people would buy and see and want and this is taking it to a higher level, and it's taking it to scale that society hasn't seen. it's resulting in very bifurcated or fractured communities. in the united states we're seeing research coming out of berkley or mit, people are not seeing the same facts. that's concerning to me, it's a breakdown of the center of community and responsible discourse on-line. >> lee goodman, what was the initial, same question to you, what was the initial hearing about and what did you learn over these two days? >> well, there was a lot of drama, a lot of theater and i think a some of it was a bit overwrought. and yet, i think what we've come to after 20, 25 years of using technology more in our lives personally and politically, is that we still
have a lot of questions that aren't answered. nuala just mentioned a lot of the practices that mark zuckerberg was asked about has been going on for decades. just take politics and take a look at politicians who asked mark zuckerberg questions for ten hours. every one of them has been using data mined from american citizens to communicate with their constituents, to build mailing lists, to target voters and a lot of this is for good reasons, democratic discourse can define people who want to engage in first amendment speech. for decades people have been collecting data, building mailing lists and i think that what nuala just said is really the take away from this. it has reached such a concentration and aggregation of power now that people are
now asking more fundamental questions about things we've been doing, really, for 20 or 30 years. if i gave one contribution to one politician, the next thing you know, i got direct mail, in my mail, from ten other politicians. so, data was being swapped and exchanged and every one of those politicians has used data that was mined, not necessarily voluntarily by the people they're communicating with back in their home states and districts. i think we have to keep that in mind. so my big take away is, this is the point of inflection and they had the greatest symbol of the new technology era before them, mark zuckerberg and the company that probably has the greatest concentration of people worldwide who are communicating around the world about personal things, putting that, those personal things out there in the public, and political things. and so, i think it's a point of inflection for us to consider and for those citizens watching
to consider, how they want to negotiate their privacy, and just for the record, i don't have a facebook page. i don't have a linkedin page and i don't even have a twitter account. i have chosen not to give up my privacy in those realms and i think that's the right every citizen has. and now what we're looking at, what are the rights of citizens who do opt out of those things. because if you opt in and you agree to place your personal information in a public space and we can talk about how you define public spaces, versus private spaces. but if you choose not to provide your data, i think that's probably the more central question. i think that-- overall, mark zuckerberg answered the questions effectively. i don't think that facebook should be treated like a tobacco company was 20 years ago, and i think that a lot of the senators and representatives didn't fully
understand the extent to which people have opted in to put personal billboards up in a public space about themselves. >> do you find it limiting? does it limit you not having a facebook page, linkedin page, twitter, et cetera, et cetera. >> i have not found it limiting. >> come join us, my friend. i remind people at dgt and people who will make their choice and their choice not to engage, however, it's not a choice that everybody really has freely. for example, my kids public schools have facebook pages and they have communities and teachers put homework on facebook accounts. so, even if i don't want to choose to share a very humorous or a very significant details of my life, there is a part to doing business that many families can't afford to choose not to engage.
and even more, it's becoming a defacto way of engaging with your government, with your community, with society. i got on-line because when i was back in corporate america, we had to create policies whether we would let our employees use facebook at all or use twitter or what the engagement was. one of the engineers said to me, you really need to be on it in order to make policy about this which i think is a little of the issue that we saw in yesterday's hearings, but even more, it is a privilege to say, i just don't need it or don't want to be there. it's become really essential to living a fully engaged life in the american community and society, for example, and that's why we're looking at issues, also at internet access. if there are communities in this country that can't get access to the internet and yet, kids are asked to do homework on-line or by computer, there's fundamental inequities as well. that's an aside. it's one thing to say they've opted into engaging i'm sharing my data and agree to see
advertising, that's a privity of contract between me and the platform, first of all, we shouldn't just beat up on one company, these are principles that apply to every major actor, whether there's a public-private square or private-public square, once i engage in that world, i should have some transparency who i am engaging with and where the information is going and i think lee and i were talking before in terms of services and the contracts that people engage with as they're signing up for these services. it was certainly, i would say, not clear to many ordinary americans what they were agreeing to, and the consequences, not only the data elements, i like to say it's not just the data, it's the decision. not just the data elements that are collected, but the decisions that are made about me and suddenly what advertising i see, but really what opportunities i'm afforded. am i going to get ads for mortgage interest rates at one rate because they tagged me as
this, or different content or literally different newspaper articles. that's one of the existential crises in the digital words. are they media companies, simple social platforms? what is their place in society. >> i'm not as concerned of the speech by targeting, and one reason is because at my fingertips, if i so choose, i have access to hundreds of different news sources and hundreds of different sources of information and it's nl 0-- only if i choose to silo myself in a facebook space, for example, and again, we shouldn't pick on facebook. >> twitter. >> it could be anywhere, aol and e-mail, which my children tells me is outdated. but my point is, i personally read news across a spectrum.
now, i may be siloed a bit when i do a google search when i do the google search results. but i generally find google search results to give me a wide array of sources. and this gets into perhaps another issue that was raised briefly yesterday and that's-- i also have access, aside from getting targeted ads based on my interests, i have the voluntary choice to read both msnbc, fox, c-span's website. i have all of those options available to me. i have the right to go into very limited echo chambers if i so choose. if i want to go to drudge report every morning and i want a cureration of news that's like-minded, i can choose that. i also have the right to go to foreign sources of information now. i think that's important that woo he cover that issue as well because senator klobuchar used
the opportunities to the honest ads acts and that russia may have used the platform through $100,000 of targeted ads, but i now have the right to go on and i can read french newspapers, and with the click of a button on my mouse, i can translate it from french to english with one click and i can read foreign information about u.s. politics. so, i could read that the prime minister of france endorsed hillary clinton and said she would be a better world leader than donald trump. and so, this is another aspect, in addition to this data privacy issue, is. this is why i say it's a broader point of inflection for our use of technology and what it's doing to our world. it's called the worldwide web for a reason. we're global consumers of
information. >> you're both attorneys and this is senator john kennedy of louisiana, i'm sure you heard what he had to say about the user agreement. >> mr. zuckerberg, i come in peace. [laughter] >> i don't want to vote to regulate facebook, but, by god, i will. a lot of that depends on you. i'm a little disappointed in this hearing today. i just don't feel like that we're connecting. so let me try to lay it out for you from my point of view. i think you're a really smart guy and i think you have built an extraordinary american company. and you've done a lot of good. some of the things that you've been able to do are magical. but our promised digital utopia we have discovered has mine
fields. there are some impurities in the facebook punch bowl. and they've got to be fixed. and i think you can fix them. now, here is what's going to happen. there are going to be a whole bunch of bills introduced to regulate facebook. it's up to you whether they pass or not. you can go back home, spend $10 million on lobbyists and fight us or you can go back home and help us solve this problem. there, too, one is a privacy problem, the other is what i call a propaganda problem. let's start with the privacy property. let's start with the user agreement. here is what everybody has been trying to tell you today and i say this gently. your user agreement sucks. [laughter]
>> you spot me 75 iq points. if i can figure it out, you can cover it you will. the user agreement is to cover facebook's rear end. it's not to inform your users about their rights. now you know that and i know that. i'm asking to suggest to you that you go back home and rewrite it. >> nuala o'connor, you're an attorney, you've written those agreements. do you agree with what senator kennedy had to say. >> you know, again, taking no shot for that or criticism of my very good friends at facebook who have worked on these policies, they've written and rewritten and rewritten them. i call myself the mark twain of the policy, written more words that no one has read. lee is right and you did a great version of the utopian of the internet and seeing the
whole world. we are at an inflection point. i think there are going to have to be boundaries on the use of data and the norms that we're creating for this community, this great utopian on-line community, not just in this social media platform, but all of them. to ask people to read 37-page privacy policies as i criticize one of my telephone manufacturer friends for having, is not only a burden, but is obfuscation. intentional obfuscation of what the company is doing and we might identify as a community that there are some uses out of bounds. some certain data or use cases that are inappropriate. i'm curious what lee thinks of applying great norms that fcc has in television, newspapers and radio context to the community. it is, whether we like it or not, the source of most american's news and information in some polled 45 to 50% of americans get some of their news from social media and and
some more. in a busy connected world, it's a great thing that the internet provides an ability to read resources from around the world. the people get to one or two default platforms for home base. facebook is one and twitter for other people and the coded law. the default law. where you go as your default setting is an incredibly powerful filter for what you're seeing and how you enthis view the world. i would say, rewrite the policies and terms of service, but i think there's work for all of us to do not only as individuals, but for congress as well. >> it was a poignant moment and i think that senator kennedy has a way of putting ideas, a lot of the way that bill clinton used to, in a way that we can all understand. senator kennedy probably uses data in his own campaign and ought to be careful because when he starts regulating people's rights to mine data, gather data, he'll be regulating his own right to
speak as well. that was one point that -- one concept that wasn't mentioned very much in the hearing and that's the concept of the first amendment and how the first amendment affects both the solutions to what senator kennedy called the propaganda issue and as well the access to both mine data, get people to communicate and share data. and i think that i would associate myself with several of the senators who were asking questions about those terms of service and the controls so that-- so here is what we have to do. we have to recognize when you put your data out there on worldwide web, by and large, you're putting your stuff out there, your information, your personal information in a public space. but once it's out there, we have to define what's a public space in the digital world and what's a private space. we know that in the physical world, more or less, as i walk out in the street, i'm in a
public space. if i'm in my on living room, i'm in a private space and greater privacy rights attached there than what i do out on the street and we're having 20 years into this social media phenomenon we're having trouble defining what should be a private space, where my personal information's placed and should be subject to some level of privacy, and what is public. now, if i go put it on a website, a worldwide website, my on website, i'm putting my westerly information out there just like it's in a phone book that anyone can look up and call me up and derive my personal information. there are some quasi public-private spaces. now called facebook, twitter something sites, a quasi public-private space. yes, i am putting a lot of information about myself right out there on a digital billboard and i'm doing it
under contractual rights with facebook to protect my privacy and to give me certain controls and i think that's where many of the senators were focused and then third, as nuala mentioned, there may be some areas where we take this issue off the table. we legislatively define it as a private space, an absolute private space. and we've done that, nuala, in health care. my health care, your health care information is private and that's under federal law. financial information, we've defined that, we've built concensus around defining that as a private state. i can still contract out and i can still give my personal financial information away if i want, but it will take to affirmative act of me to do that. so, the question then is, what other privacy spaces are we going to legislate and i think that's where senator kennedy was going.
take care of this issue in that second category i mentioned. this quasi, private-public space. make the agreements you have with the people who use your platform clearer, so that they know what they're signing up for when they use your service, and we won't take the issue from you and legislatively create these private spaces. let people contract for what is private and what is public. i think that was what i took away from the colloquy. >> and i think that's all right it's just that the expectations and the compromises and agreements made in some cases may have not lived up to the expectation of the individual who read them and agreed to them. so, i would say twitter is largely a public forum, right? you sign up, your tweets, unless you lock them down, are available for public view, but in both cases, the examples of those platforms, you can make
choices within the platform to make sure that you can create the community you want. i think you made such a good point about the hire-- hi hirearchies and these are by the actors and stewards we engage with, hospitals, doctors. here is the problem and that's not covered by this, it knows where i am, and knows how many miles i didn't jog this morning. it knows what my heartbeat is. it knows some darned personal stuff about me. it's the same kind of doctor my doctor gathered in my last physical, but it's not regulated. so we have major gaps, we can cover the data and use, and lots of ways to slice it. it's in some ways, a harder
question. what are these spaces? facebook is a private company. it's not covered by the first amendment. this is a very different analysis than if it was government analysis of speech. while we're deeply concerned about making the major actors and platforms into sensors or stewards of speech. there's also a concept of information fiduciary that a law school is putting forth where people have some duty of care over your data. not just speech, but how your personal representation, your alphanumeric, your phone number and also your pictures. i hate the word ownership, i don't like the word ownership of data. i think it's a human rights issue and personal issue, how many controls do you have of the data and how does it get away from you. that's what i think the cambridge analytica issue says to me. my data got farther and farther away from facebook and the deal i made to be in the community and used in ways that are
perhaps akin-- or far away from my initial intent of being in that on-line space. so, i think we might argue we have some market failures here. a lack of transparenctransparene to speech issues, and data issues. >> and you said that this is a private company, you're making that contract with a private company. so, you've sewn your seeds, it's out of your hands. >> well, you might say that we could look at it as a new norm, a new value. the question i also ask the questions is, what is your social or civic responsibility in the digital age. just as we've asked great companies like the general electric company where i used to work to clean up the hudson river after it polluted it. in iterations of companies, most the people that worked on it were probably gone by the time people were cleaning it up. that was the civic
responsibility. they harmed the environment and took the responsibility of cleaning it up. similar similarly, is this a crime to have data used, far away from the initial agreement you had with the private company you were dealing with. we regulate all sorts of industries in all sort of ways. i love the analogy, i don't care remember who made it, somebody said it, editorial. we don't ask americans to understand the internal workings of a combustion engine in order to drive a car. should we ask them to understand every transmission their name and address goes through once they sign up for a social platform that enbeginnings in digital world. when. >> when you heard senator kennedy say we don't want to regulate, but we will. >> and the europeans some would argue are ahead of us.
i'm not necessarily saying i agree with all the choices they've made. but they view that, and not as health care is here and this is here. we look at the companies and governments use information and i would say i think that individuals want a little more control. this isn't necessarily a republican or democratic issue although this election brings out those issues, but this data can be used-- i remind my friends on capitol hill. this might have worked out for you this time or didn't work out for you this time. the roles may be reversed next time so we need new norms and boundaries for all of us to play by. >> lee goodman, do you hear anything you want to respond to? >> i do, i think we have nuance differences here. basically, i think that many of the senators, including senator kennedy in the clip you just played, acknowledged this is a private contract. and what nuala suggested is
that maybe we need to take more areas out of the realm of private contract, like health care, and create a governmental protection, in other words, legislatively define it as private and under pain of criminal punishment, punish people if they allow that data to be mined or gather that data or intrude into that data. now, i agree that we can debate each realm of data, but i think when you start talking about legislation, to take the right of contract more or less off of the table and define these realms as legislatively private domains, you one up against first amendment rights. the supreme court has recognized that the right to gather data and the right to provide even personal data is a first amendment right because
that's what c-span, that's what reporters do. they go out and they get information. your right to gather news, for example, is part and parcel, your right, your journalistic right under the free press clause. if i start saying you can't gather certain information about people, it is out of bounds, i would be violating your journalistic right under the free press laws and like-wise, there are other speakers both in the commercial space and the political space who mine data and if we start moving that data out of the realm of what can be mined, we're probably violating some first amendment rights. now, that leads us to debate, in my mind, each realm of data separately as opposed to going the european model where we say, all personal information is protected and you cannot gather it, you cannot invade it, you cannot use it. because there is no first amendment in europe and they didn't have this hurdle to get over in trying to legislate
certain areas. when the government does define some of these areas as private doe mains, there is concensus around it and there are compelling governmental interests to define these areas as particularly private and take them out of the domain of data mining, data trading, data selling. so that brings me to the next point that nuala raised because this is where i end up. i think that in a vast majority of these areas, it is a matter of personal choice and contract, okay? i don't wear a fitbit and here is my wrist. i don't have one. i'm not sharing that data with anyone. it was my choice. and that brings me to this point of civic responsibility and i think that's what you heard from mark zuckerberg. he has been upbraided publicly and facebook is responding to that and i think that senator
lee and a couple of the other senators, senator hatch, for example, they were very sensitive to this and they said, i think even senator kennedy was making that point, you run a good platform. give people good general protections and transparency and controls over their information and we won't have to step in and deal with these first amendment problems, that we face in trying to legislate. and i think that facebook and twitter and linkedin and all of these companies have a commercial incentive to be responsible, to be fair places and you heard all of that being hashed out, even into the colloquy with senator cruz who asked mark zuckerberg if he was going to be an open forum for all ideas and he said yes. he doesn't have to. i think that facebook has a first amendment right to feature one type of-- one flavor or ideology of speech if it so chooses, but he
wants to be a good citizen. his company wants to be available to all people and so, i think that's where we end up is ultimately market pressures will force these companies to have fair contractual terms and to be good responsible platforms. >> we want to show more video from this week's hearings. this is senator harris of california his hometown or home state senator. here is what she had to say. >> my question is, did anyone at facebook have a conversation at the time that you became aware of this breach and have a conversation wherein the decision was made not to contact the users. >> senator, i don't know if there were any conversations at facebook overall because i wasn't in a lot of them, but-- >> on that subject. >> yeah, i mean, i'm not sure what other people discussed.
our-- at the time in 2015 we heard this report that alexander kogan had sold data to calm bridge analytica. that's a violation of our terms. >> were you part of a discussion that made the decision not to inform users. >> i don't remember a conversation like that. but the reason why-- >> are you aware of anyone in leadership at facebook who was in a conversation where a decision was made not to inform your users or do you believe no such conversation ever took place? >> i'm not sure whether there was a conversation about that, but i can tell you the thought process at the time of the company, which was that in 2015 when we heard about this we banned the developer and we demanded that they delete the data and stop using it and same with cambridge analytica and they told us they had. >> i'm talking about the notification of the users.
this relates to the issue of transparency and relationship of trust, informing the user about what you know in terms of how their personal information has been misused. and i'm also concerned that when you personally became aware of this, did you or senior leadership do an inquiry to find out who at facebook had this information and did they not have a discussion about whether or not the users should be enveloped back in december of 2015? >> senator, in retrospect, i think we clearly view it as a mistake that we didn't inform people and we did that based on false information that we thought the case was closed and had been deleted. >> there was a decision made on that basis not to inform the users, is that correct? >> that's my understanding, yes. >> nuala o'connor, that goes to your point of information getting away from you down
road. >> a couple of things here, this is not a classic data breach as defined in any of the now 50 u.s. state laws on data breach which only go to social security numbers, financial services indicators, bank accounts, credit card numbers. nothing lost or stolen or misused or misappropriated in this scenario would have triggered a required notice under most, i think if not all of those 50 state laws. that gets to lee's very good point with which i think i might have to disagree because trivial data, seemingly inconsequence data about you can be triangulated, amalgamated and used to create decisions about you in the on-line world that i think will profoundly reshape your on-line experience. my facebook would look different if you had a facebook account than what you see and learn about and process in your world. i'm not necessarily arguing that facebook did or did not do anything right or wrong in notifying or not notifying.
issue of this kind where they've escaped the boundaries of the federal government and opm breach and target through the breach through the h-vac system and accessing systems that way. and i think that it's time to set some clearer norms. the folks at federal trade commission do a great job with the resources they have, but i would argue it's probably not enough, given the size and scale and scope of the impact these companies have on real people's real lives. >> what are some of the clearer norms in your view. >> control? letting people know what data is being collected about them. what kind of controls they have, over who it's going to be shared with and how it's going to be used and letting them delete it when they want to. no's got know mean no. delete has got to mean delete. and transparency, letting people know what they're signing up for. to lee's point. we can create a world people are recognizing they're entering into contractual
agreement with the companies and friction, more robust and sensitive data is going to be used and these are the ways we're using it. it cannot be an open door. there's a mindset, we will tea take all the data and figure out what we're going to use it for. that's not a fair deal. these are fundamentals of fair and practices that the fcc can enforce. they had a 20-year dissent dedegree with facebook already. and this gives me pause whether we have the kind of supports and directions are to the company's good behavior. we want to be aware of overregulation and we don't want to squelch, the incomer, the small start-up company. we want to make sure that the boundaries are clear and open to everybody. >> well, we're in general agreement there ought to be norms. people ought to insist on norms as a contractual matter and i think that's what this national debate will probably alert more
people to before you just hit accept. i would encourage people to look at what they're anticipating, the policies that they are accepting. some of these apps are so attractive, people are so eager to accept the app and play the game or find the restaurant or whatever it may be, they hit accept and they don't pay attention to the bargain. it's a bargain because you're getting is quite useful for free and you're giving something away. and people need to think about that a little bit more. but you can still have all of these norms, whether it's legislated, at the state or federal level. or whether it's contractual or whether this is a, sort of a better business bureau that certified that the companies come together themselves. and get a good housekeeping seal. and we follow the best practices of data controls, and data privacy protection, and we, you know, there are lots of ways, both voluntary, or i think news probably supported a little bit more government,
legislation to do this than i would be. but you know what's going to happen? you can have state of the art norms and state of the art technology to prevent breaches and there are still going to be breaches. and when i was a federal employee, we were told that the federal government had state of the art protections for all of mew information and guess who got it? chinese and/or russian hackers went into opm's data and took my data. now, i don't care how many norms and promises and contractual rights you have, there are still going to be those breaches. and so, this is a reality of modern world and it's just super charged and concentrated now that you can cull far more data in one intrusion than you used to be able to from a phone book or a voter registration role. all the other ways that the government does make our data very public. and so, i don't think that we should analyze this entire
issue, this public policy issue through the fulcrum of one mistake at facebook. and i do think that this whole controversy over cambridge analytica was a mistake that facebook in good faith thought they had under control. they let many application developers gather data in order to enhance the experience of facebook users so, you know, i want to share-- i want to share my location with my friends, here is an app that allows me to do that. they allow the app to plug in subject to contractual protections and what i was giving them was not just my information, but all of my friend's information because guess what? i wanted to form a community around finding the right italian restaurant or whatever the app may be or following a certain sports team.
they did this in this one instance. there was obviously a mistake, mistakes are going to happen. they've happened in the federal government with my data, and what they gave it to the professor kogan, who had his own contractual provision and i think that's his position, that he sent and someone missed it at facebook and now there's probably a problem with whose contractual term control. and as soon as they found out, is it going to cambridge analytica outside of their terms and cambridge analytical represents to this day that they deleted the data. why is there such a contract about that? then a former employee of cambridge analytica appears and says, guess what, i have the data. and they sued that gentleman because he went into competition with his former employer and took assets of the company and they entered into a settlement with him demanding that he delete the data. this is a mistake that
occurred, mark zuckerberg has said, and yet, you could have all the laws in place and those types of mistakes would still occur. and so, i don't think i -- i think that the cambridge analytica story has taken on a little bit more life of its own because it's politically charged. >> i don't agree-- >> people thought, we have donald trump on yet another snag and i think now people are learning the facts that donald trump did not use cambridge analytica data, therefore, he did not use the facebook data that mr. kogan puts in facebook and now a lot of the errors coming out of this controversy. and people learned, guess what? the obama campaign four years ago got similar access to friends data and sent political messages to the people who signed up to their friends. so where does that leave us? i think that cambridge
analytica is a bit of a red herring and i don't think that we should understand all of these issues through the prism of this one mistake. >> i agree with that last point wholeheartedly, while it's highly politicized and highly charged, again, these tools and data sets can be used for and against any particular candidate. i don't think, you ever who, -- however, the air is going out of this controversy. i've never seen so prolonged attention to a data issue. you're right, mistakes were made, contractual issue, kogan may have misbehaved. we've heard i'm sorry from silicon valley over and over again. i'm wary of overregulation because i don't want to cement the incumbents on this issue, any way that i want to cement the incumbents on any of the issues that we work on, but i do think that we've sen a -- seen a disrecord -- disregard for the individual
and their control of data and the disregard for perhaps the seriousness of the bargain. what i've seen in corporate america, we have controls and regulations on everything from supply management to money laundering. when we think that something is important we regulate it and we say this is how to behave. these are at least the basic standards of behavior. this is simply a new issue and industry and i agree it's an inflection point for the unruly teenager of the internet commute to say we've got some responsibility to the people we serve our customers, and i think some of the reason the data is shared is not only toer is of, but it's important toer is of the customer and also to create a sticky environment and bring people back and make sure they want to stay on the platform. i think that some things that the platforms are that most worried about my 13-year-old daughter who says, mom, nobody's on facebook anymore, why would you be on facebook? she is, however, on instagram which is owned by facebook, there's hope for that stock as we've seen in the last two
days. and i do think that these are setting new norms or an industry that's on the brink of growing up. >> speaking of that industry, before we run out of time. let's go to greg who chairs the committee. part of his opening statement in the hearing. >> is facebook a media company? >> thank you, mr. chairman, i consider us to be a technology company because the primary thing that we do is have engineers who write codes ap build products and services for other people. certainly other things we do. we do pay to produce content and software although i don't car is an enterprise software. we build planes to connect people and i don't consider ourselves to be an aerospace company. overall when people ask if we're a media company, what i hear is do we have a responsibility for the content that people share on facebook. and i believe the answer to
that question is yes. >> let me ask the next one. you can send money to friends on facebook messenger using a debit card or paypal account to split meals, pay rent and more, closed quote and they can send money via vemo app. is facebook a financial institution? >> i don't consider ourselves to be a financial institution although we provide ways to send money. >> you've mentioned you started facebook in your dorm room, 15 years, and two billion users and several breaches later. facebook today, is facebook today the same kind of company you started with a harvard.edu e-mail address? >> mr. chairman, i think we've evolved quite a bit as a company. when i started it, i certainly didn't think we would be the ones building this broad community around the word. i thought someone would do it i
didn't think it would be us. so we've definitely grown. >> and you've recently said that you and facebook have not done a good job of explaining what facebook does. so back in 2012 and 2013 when a lot of this scaping the user and friend data was happening. did you ever enter your mind you should tell users how they're mining and gathering data. facebook does not sell data as the sense, but also that data is probably the most valuable thing about facebook, in fact, maybe the only truly valuable thing about facebook. why wasn't explaining what facebook does with user's data higher priority for you as a co-founder and now an a ceo. >> you're right that we don't sell any data and i would say that we do try to explain what we do as time goes on is to broad system. you know, every day about 100 billion times a day people come
to one of our products, facebook, instagram or whats did the app, a photo they want to share or a message to send someone and every time there's a control right there about who you want to share it with. do you want to share it publicly to broadcast out to everyone, to share with your friends, a specific group of people. do you want to message it just to one person or a couple of people? that's the most important thing that we do. and i think that in the product, that's quite clear. i do think that we can do a better job of he cexplaining ho advertising works and there's a common misconception, that often it's not reported that for some reason we sell data. we don't sell data. that's not how advertising works and i think we could do a clearer job explaining that given the misperceptions out there. >> given the situation can you manage the issues that are before you or does congress
need to intercede? >> lee goodman, what did you hear from the chairman? >> well, that's a question that the new technology companies have been challenging regulators with for the last 20 years, new technologies blur old distinctions between categories of institutions, they blur the distinction between products and services because know you when you used to buy at the record stores as an lp or a 45, you know you zip in ones and zeros from computer to computer. how we regulate that under the securities laws. how we tax that, whether the same tax policy would apply and how we regulate all of that under the first amendment, have-- has stumped many, many regulators in court and it's interesting, that he talked about how long facebook has gone and how many people are now logged on. and yet, we still don't have
clear jurisprudence about any of this. so, the courts haven't caught up with the new technologies and how they challenge old boundaries as well. and how they're to be regulated. the question in terms that i found more interesting, especially when we start talking about political speech and first amendment rights was the question about classifying facebook and other social media sites as the media. are they the press or a technology company? i think they're both. i think that they cureate information. as he said they do create content more importantly they have avenue democratized the press and given individuals a platform to be heard, to form associations of like-minded people, to express their viewpoints and to compete with large institutions like the new
york times and "the washington post" and cbs news. now, many of the problems that mark zuckerberg is facing and being questioned about arise from that phenomenon which is not really his problem. we're talking about misinformation, fake news, hate speech. people are blaming facebook for these problems and yet, they really are a people phenomenon. he has provided the press and he's put a printing press in the hands of every citizen who chooses to give up their privacy to some extent and use facebook and people form groups. it's not just individuals who have these billboards and these places, but there are groups of people who associate here and so, i think he is a new form of the press. and i think that's important for him, at least in the short run, because the press gets special regulatory rights at the federal election commission
under the federal campaign act. they get special protections under the foreign agents regulation act when we at that you can about russian meddling. if the russians advertise, there is an explicit regulation that says you're not responsible for the russians on the site. there's an explicit press exemption for the you editorialize for hillary clinton or against donald trump. and i think in the shortrun, facebook is entitled to those exemptions as new media, granted it's a not the same as old media, and that was a-- that was probably my biggest take away. i think facebook is a form of the press today. it's just a more populous one. >> we've made many-- as i have made over the year
that the internet is the great democratization of information and of speech and of individual power. these are all wonderful things that they supported way back in the dawn of it and in 1994 under sections 230 and freedom from platform liability. however, i think what we're also seeing is a little bit of a growing up and awareness of unintended consequences of the speech, that the blog or hate speech looks exactly the same as the new york times on-line and what is again, the moral responsibility, the social responsibility, ethical responsibility, or the journalistic responsibility of someone who is at the very least possibly engaging in some editorial decision making about where that information is placed on the site. it's kind of like above the fold and below the fold in newspaper jargon. how high it's in your news feed, how frequently it's placed that and this is an
effect on how the people see the world. and just because we found facebook was for finding a date in college isn't that how it's used. there are different needs in this platform and i think that the senior leadership has definitely got hard thinking to do on their place in the world. you talked about the exemptions, what about the requirements we place on television and newspaper and radio ads to disclose that this is a political ad or who it's paid for by or what kind of political speech you're seeing. i think we've seen an avoidance of some of that in the internet news community and just as the technology community has disrupted taxi cabs and hotels and everything else, they've disrupted the democracy and some people like it and some people don't. >> i think on balance the democratic effects of new media have been quite positive. and i've written a book chapter
on this where i take a look at the little campaign of an unknown governor of georgia named jimmy carter, looking two or three years out on how he might run for president in 1975 and '76. and how he was-- all the things he had to do to build communities in iowa and new hampshire and literally, it was going to events and writing down people's names on a piece of paper, then trying to get them on a list and follow up with them and how the only way he could get any national credibility. remember the refrain, jimmy who? nobody knew who he was, was to get on national news programs, to try to get notice through the three major filters before even c-span, right? this is when there was cbs, abc, nbc. so, on balance now, the way a
little-named governor from vermont named howard dean can become a phenomenon is on using these new technologies. i know that nuala and i are in agreement on this. by and large the internet has been used for good. now, the internet does have its problems. it's a people phenomenon. there are haters, mean people, bad people who are going to use these platforms to spread bad information, to spread hate-filled speech, and that's where i think that a platform like facebook or twit are has the first amendment right to cureate information that it allows on its platform and does not. now, what you heard a colloquy the other day on mark zuckerberg and senator cruz and i think that senator lee asked some of the same questions. they said you're not going to curate ideological points of view that you don't disagree
with, are you? and he said, no, i am not. i trust mark zuckerberg, he has every incentive to be a platform where conservatives want to participate as well and he would lose a lot of customers or users if he started to discriminate on one viewpoint. so, i don't think that he's intentionally discriminating, but i think he has a first amendment right to do so if he chooses to. >> you have 30 seconds to close this conversation. >> that's the hardest question and he look forward to working with you and congress and working on the platforms and what speech is in the digital age. the hardest question is how we create the community and country that we want. >> nuala o'connor what is the center for democracy and technology. >> these for the rights. >> i practice political law and represent politicians political parties and help facilitate their exercise of their first amendment freedom. >> much like two facebook
hearings, our conversation broadened itself. thank you for being a part of the community. >> thank you. >> c-span where history unfolds daily. in 1979 c-span was created as a public service by america's cable television companies. and today, we continue to bring you unfiltered coverage of congress, the white house, the supreme court, and public policy events in washington d.c. and around the country. c-span is brought to you by your cable or satellite provider. the u.s. senate is about to gavel in on this thursday morning to finish work on nomination of oklahoma republican congressman jim brightenstein to be nasa administration. his nomination advanced yesterday on a 50-48 party line
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