Why is Zuckerberg dodging these questions?

Why is Zuckerberg dodging these questions?

The Cambridge Analytica scandal has been big news recently – and rightly so. Facebook is a huge part of life in the 21st century. At the last count, it had some 2.2 billion active users and over a billion people access it a day. It’s not only a handy app; it’s a fundamental part of the way we build relationships in Western society. The fact that Facebook has been storing data generated by its users and making it available to researchers without their knowledge is something that bears scrutiny.

A vox infographic detailing how Zuckerberg ended up in court. Credit: Vox

While there is neither time nor space to provide a full rundown of the scandal, there is plenty of information online. In fact, here, might be a good place to start.

What has become apparent during Zuckerberg’s testimony about Facebook’s use of data and its connections to the US presidential election (yes, it all comes back to Trump again) is that there are some things about his company he either can’t or won’t answer.

Take this question for example: should Facebook, by law, have to get user permission to sell or share data? It seems like a simple enough question and it certainly appears to be the kind of question the CEO of the company should be able to answer without too much hassle.

Zuckerberg during his grilling. Credit: 10News

Here’s how he answered it:

“A hundred billion times a day in our services, when people go to share content, they choose who they want to share it with affirmatively.”

He mustn’t have been concentrating, because that barely even relates to the question. Unless you have the most cynical mind possible and you see that as a snide way of seeing, ‘We do get people’s permission as long as they leave their security settings set to default.’

Here’s another question Zuckerberg was asked: What data does Facebook share with third parties about people under the age of 18?

“Every time that someone chooses to share something on Facebook, you go to the app, right there it says, ‘Who do you want to share with?’”

Ah, Orwell, what would you make of our modern world? Credit: Pinterest

That’s a classic line of Orwellian doublespeak, but maybe when you’re under pressure you babble a bit and you don’t quite get there the first time. We’ve all been there.

How about this question: Why is the onus on users to opt in to Facebook’s privacy and security settings? It’s a little more pointed, but again, it’s definitely one the CEO should be able to answer, right?

Wrong.

Here’s what he said:

“Every time that a person chooses to share something on Facebook, they’re proactively going to the service and choosing that they want to share a photo, write a message to someone, and every time, there is a control right there, not buried in settings somewhere but right there when they’re posting, about who they’re sharing with.”

“Should I just tell them the same thing again?” Credit: Somodevilla/Getty

You get the drift of it. Zuckerberg, right now, is that kid at school who knows the answer to one question on the test and is writing it as his answer to every short response question in the hope that this test just goes away.

Either that or he’s an automaton sent by the lizard people instead of the real Zuckerberg. Who knows?

Here’s just one video of him at the testimony. It certainly seems like he’s not entirely comfortable.

H/T: Vox.