Did Mark Zuckerberg just beat Congress?
Mark Zuckerberg survived Congress. Now what?
That’s the big question now that the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives have put Facebook under the microscope.
After 10+ hours of testimony, plenty of clueless questions, and multiple promises that Facebook’s team would “follow up” with lawmakers, the public now has a chance to re-examine its fundamental relationship with the social network, and judge whether or not that “breach of trust” Zuckerberg has admitted will lead to fundamental change.
Zuckerberg has promised the company would atone for past sins through audits of former developers and changes in how it handles data. It’s also addressing the accusation that it enabled Russian operatives to manipulate its network in order to sway public opinion by implementing better detection tools and much greater transparency in its advertisers — a clear attempt to get ahead of new regulations, such as the Honest Ads Act, before they hit the social network like a speeding freight train.
One of the fundamental questions the hearings addressed is one that has dogged Facebook almost since its beginning: Is it a tech company or a media company? Zuckerberg tried to have it both ways in the hearings, but Republican lawmakers seized upon his ambivalence, pointing to alleged bias against conservative views and citing the work of former Gizmodo reporter and current Mashable Deputy Tech Editor Michael Nuñez, where he uncovered an anti-conservative slant in Facebook’s (now defunct) trending news team back in 2016.
Nuñez speaks out for the first time about having his work cited in this debate on this week’s MashTalk podcast, where we also discuss Facebook’s broader responsibilities. The Next Web’s Matt Navarra, a long-time Facebook observer and commentator, also joins to help unpack the hearings, what will happen next, and whether or not the whole affair has strengthened or weakened Facebook.
And, hey, did Zuckerberg actually hint there may someday be a paid version?
You can subscribe to or , and we’d appreciate it if you could leave a review. Feel free to hit us with questions and comments by tweeting to or attaching the #MashTalk hashtag. We welcome all feedback.