Zuckerberg outguns US Congress; Facebook stock rises

(FinancialPress) — After 10 hours of intense congressional grilling and one or two senatorial gaffes, Mark Zuckerberg stood triumphant on the US Senate floor, even if markets were not immediately aware of it.

US lawmakers spread the wide gamut of questions and increpations over two days, yet seemed to be somewhat unprepared for the task at hand. Alas, the Facebook CEO emerged from the hearing unscathed and, by now, considerably richer.

Bobbing and weaving through questions regarding the control users of the platform have over their data, he successfully parried all attempts at cornering him to support new legislation on the issue.

US lawmakers failed to reach a consensus about the kind of legislation they aim to pursue in regards of personal privacy on digital platforms, nor did they set a timeline for work on the issue.

Zuckerberg on his hand, handily avoided making compromises regarding support on new business-regulating legislation both on Tuesday, before the Senate, and on Wednesday in front of the House of Representatives’.

“It is inevitable that there will need to be some regulation” of internet firms, Zuckerberg said, preparedly avoiding any and all compromise on the matter.

(Full text of Zuckerberg’s prepared testimony: bit.ly/2Hkhr9L)

This was the first congressional hearing for the 33 year old billionaire, but given his performance, one would be hard-pressed to believe so. He was ready to catch curveballs from the congressmen at all times and from all angles. He claimed insufficient information at hand forty times over the two days – compromising to get back to the senators at a later time with a detailed response. 1 in every 3 question fielders received that same response over the hearings.

Debbie Dingell, Democratic Representative, did not withhold her distaste with the Facebook frontman and such responses.

‘“Some things are striking during this conversation,” she said. “As CEO, you didn’t know some key facts.”

Zuckerberg countered with what a consistent message over the affair: that Facebook users hold full control and ownership of their data, and that he was among the 87 million people affected by the improper sharing of information with political big data consultor Cambridge Analytica – avoiding further details.

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