Here's what Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wanted 44 senators to know about the scandal in which Cambridge Analytica used the massive social platform to access 87 million users: He made mistakes.
Facebook's mission is to "help people connect." And no, he's not resigning.
"Founded Facebook. My decisions. I made mistakes. Big challenge but we've solved problems before. Going to solve this one," read Zuckerberg's notes under the heading "Accountability" and the bullet point "Resign?"
Zuckerberg left the notes on his desk during a break in testimony to the Senate Judiciary and Commerce committees, and an Associated Press photographer took a picture.
Under "Election integrity (Russia)," Zuckerberg's notes read, "Too slow, making progress." Under "Data safety," the notes read, "Made mistakes, working hard to fix them."
Not so fast, the much older senators told Zuckerberg, 33, who was perched atop a seat pillow for the much-anticipated hearing into whether and how the breach affected the 2016 elections.
So one member of the joint committee, average age 62, got to the point.
"I just don't feel like we're connecting," Senator John Kennedy told Zuckerberg in hour four of the hearing. "Your user agreement sucks."
This time, there was no flop sweat, perhaps because the senators spent most of the first of two days of hearings reading questions for Zuckerberg on privacy issues rather than attacking him as expected on broader matters such as Russia's role in election meddling or Facebook's lag in responding to the data breach. It wasn't as if senators could forget about the Russian meddling. Multiple investigations are probing the interference.
Besides, someone dressed as a Russian troll watched from the audience wearing a pointy, blue-and-green wig.
Zuckerberg repeatedly told senators that unsatisfied Facebook members can adjust their privacy settings - or delete their accounts.
And under "Defend Facebook," the notes advised the CEO that "If attacked," he should respond: "Respectfully, I reject that. Not who we are."
Twitter widely noted the apparent age or knowledge gap between Zuckerberg and the senators.
"Wrap it up, Grandpa Grassley," tweeted one user to the Judiciary Committee chairman, who was deep into his first term in the Senate when Zuckerberg was born in 1984.
Some senators of a certain age utilized posters to illustrate their questions, such as Senator Patrick Leahy who has served in the Senate since 1975. He asked Zuckerberg about hate speech, in places like Myanmar.
"What's happening in Myanmar is a terrible tragedy," Zuckerberg answered. "We all agree with that," Leahy snapped.
What the notes said:
• Breach of trust; sorry we let it happen; took steps in 2014 to stop it happening again.
• Quiz app designed by Cambridge University researcher named Aleksandr Kogan.
• People who used app gave Kogan FB information like public profile, page likes, friend list + birthday; same for friends' whose settings allowed sharing. NO credit card/SSN info.
• Kogan sold to CA in violation of our terms; when we found out, told them to delete data.
• Confirmed they had - now seems untrue. Should have done more to audit + tell people.
• Important issue, but no credit card information or SSN shared.
• People Kogan access to Facebook information like their public profile, page likes, friend list + birthday; same for friends' whose settings allowed sharing.
• 2014 changes mean it couldn't happen now, restricted apps' access to data even further.
Reverse lookup (scraping)
• Found out about abuse two weeks ago, shut it down
• Useful to find someone by phone number/email; if people have the same number.
• Malicious actors linked public info (name, profile photo, gender, user ID) to phone numbers they already had; shut it down. Need to do more to prevent abuse.
• Fire people for CA?: It's about we designed the platform. That was my responsibility. Not going to throw people under the bus.
• Do you ever fire anyone?: Yes, hold people accountable all the time; not going to go into specifics.
• Resign?: Founded Facebook. My decisions. I made mistakes. Big challenge, but we've solved problems before, going to solve this one. Already taking action.
• No accountability for MZ?: Accountable to you, to employees, to people who use FB.
• I use FB every day, so does my family, invest a lot in security.
• Made mistakes, working hard to fix them.
• Giving people more controls; just yesterday started showing people their app controls.
Business model (ads)
• Want FB to a service everyone can use, has to be free, can only do that with ads.
• Key for me is mission - helping people connect. Business model supports that mission.
• Let's be clear [obscured] Facebook doesn't sell data. You own your information. We give you controls. People know [obscured] need ads; tell us if they have to see ads, want them to be relevant.
• [If attacked: Respectfully, I reject that. Not who we are]
• Billions people globally use FB every day to connect to the people that matter.
• Families reconnected, people met and gotten married, movements organised, tens of millions of SMBs now have better tools to grow and create jobs.
• More work to do, but can't lose sight of all the ways people are using FB for good
Tim Cook on biz model
• Bezos: "Companies that work hard to charge you more and companies that work hard to charge you less."
• At FB, we try to charge you less. In fact, we're free.
• [On data, we're similar. When you install an app on your iPhone, you give it access to some information, just like when you login with FB.
• Lot's of stories about apps misusing Apple data, never seen Apple notify people.
• Important you hold everyone to the same standard.]
• It's very disturbing; and sadly we do see bad things on Facebook.
• Should have no place on our service; community standards prohibit hate, bullying, terror.
• Working to be more proactive; AI, hiring more people e.g. terror, e.g. suicide.
• Will never be perfect, but making huge investments.
Election integrity (Russia)
• To slow, making progress. France, Germany, Alabama.
• Midterms are important, but not just in the US - Brazil, Mexico, Hungary.
• Just announced committee of academics to commission independent research on social media on democracy.
• Silicon Valley has a problem, and Facebook is a part of that problem.
• personally care about making progress; long way to go [3% African American, 5% Hispanics].
• Consumer choice: consumers have lots of choice over how they spend their time
• Small part of ad market: advertisers have choices too - $650 billion market, we have 6%.
• Break up FB?: US tech companies key asset for America; break up strengthens Chinese companies.
GDPR (Don't say we already do what GDPR requires)
• People deserve good privacy tools and controls wherever they live.
• We build everything to be transparent and give people control. GDPR does a few things:
- Provides control over data use - what we've done for a few years
- Requires consent - done a little bit, now doing more in Europe and around the world.
- Get special consent for specific things e.g. facial recognition
• Support privacy legislation that is practical, puts people in control and allows for innovation.