In hearings before Congress, Zuckerberg can’t name single Facebook competitor

Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg appeared in hearings before both houses of Congress after Facebook failed to protect the data of more than 50 million of its users. Concerns over Facebook’s size and power are growing, even among lawmakers, some of whom asked Zuckerberg about competition.

“Who’s your biggest competitor?” Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) asked Zuckerberg, referring to Facebook. Zuckerberg struggled to answer, offering that Google, Apple, Amazon, and Microsoft “overlap” with Facebook in different ways. Graham was not satisfied. “If I buy a Ford, and it doesn’t work well, and I don’t like it, I can buy a Chevy. If I’m upset with Facebook, what’s the equivalent product I can go sign up for,” Graham asked. “You don’t think you have a monopoly?”

“It certainly doesn’t feel like that to me,” Zuckerberg replied.

Questions of privacy also arose. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) asked Zuckerberg, “would you be comfortable sharing with us the name of the hotel you stayed in last night?” “Um, no,” Zuckerberg replied. Durbin followed up: “if you’ve messaged anybody this week, would you share with us the names of the people you’ve messaged?” “Senator, no, I would probably not choose to do that publicly here,” Zuckerberg replied. “I think that might be what this is all about,” Durbin concluded, “your right to privacy, the limits of your right to privacy, and how much you'd give away in modern America.”

 

Links:

Facebook fails to protect 50 million users’ data from Trump-connected breach (Speed Matters, Mar. 19, 2018)

Zuckerberg Faces Hostile Congress as Calls for Regulation Mount (New York Times, Apr. 11, 2018)

Zuckerberg struggles to name a single Facebook competitor (The Verge, Apr. 10, 2018)

Awkwardness ensues as top Democratic senator asks Mark Zuckerberg if he'll reveal what hotel he stayed at last night (Business Insider, Apr. 10, 2018)