Zuckerberg Congressional Hearing and Scandal Recap


Emily Stocksdale, Literature Editor

Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder and chief executive officer of the social media website Facebook, was subject to two hearings before Congress, on April 10 and 11.  The hearings occurred in part as the result of Facebook’s affiliation with the company Cambridge Analytica, which has been accused of collecting data and personally identifiable information from Facebook users in a way which has been deemed inappropriate.  During the hearing, Zuckerberg apologized and noted that his data had also been sold, but when pressed for specifics on what he meant or on how he planned to fix the problem to prevent user data from being stolen in the future, Zuckerberg remained vague and evasive.


These hearings are just one of a number of scandals and security breaches involving major technological companies in the past decade.  In September 2017, the credit agency Equifax revealed that they had been vulnerable to hacking from May to July of the same year and that potentially 145.5 million people in the U.S. may have been affected.  This security breach exposed privacy issues which have been hiding beneath the surface since the introduction of mass communication and the widespread use of technology for storing important personal information.  The Equifax scandal allowed hackers to gain sensitive information such as social security and credit card numbers, birth dates, addresses and driver’s license numbers, and potentially could have gained access to other secure information.  At first, Equifax chose to cover up the breach.  And according to the Online Trust Alliance (OTA), Equifax was one of many companies in the U.S. that was affected by cyberattacks in 2017, which was potentially the worst year for cyberattacks to date.  In November 2016, Verizon, the parent company of Yahoo and a major telecommunications company, revealed that all 3 billion Yahoo email accounts had been hacked in 2013.  Uber was the subject of scandal in early 2017 after it was revealed that hackers had stolen millions of both driver and rider accounts, which was just one of many offenses against the company.  These scandals are just a few of the very many which involve major companies losing the sensitive data and personal information of its customers to hackers.  Even the U.S. government has been affected to some extent.


Facebook obviously isn’t the only one facing trouble with security breaches and technological scandals and this problem likely isn’t going away anytime soon.  While Facebook stock took a major hit during the process of the hearings, its stock is once again on the rise as the scandal begins to die down.  Some regard the congressional hearing to be somewhat of a joke, with the lawmakers on the committee asking ineffective questions, creating often awkward exchanges between the committee and Zuckerberg.  Nevertheless, Facebook will likely face future policy changes, which hopefully could affect how all companies handle the personal information and data of their customers.