Everything Mark Zuckerberg Will Follow Up On for Congress
Mark Zuckerberg visited Capitol Hill this week, spending hours answering questions from Congress about privacy, Russia, algorithms, and more. Also: not answering those questions. Dozens of times, Zuckerberg deferred, responding instead that his “team” would “follow up.” In the interest of helping both Congress and Facebook keep track of those many, many promises to provide more—or in many cases, any—detail, we’ve collected them all here.
Please note that this does not include the several occasions in which Zuckerberg claimed he didn’t know an answer but promised no follow-up. (There were lots of those, too.) We’re also not including instances where legislators ran out of time and submitted further written questions, or proactively asked Zuckerberg to get them more information later.
But by our best reckoning, what follows is every instance in which Zuckerberg volunteered to get back to a specific senator or representative—giving his “team” one heaping pile of homework in the process.
Senator Chuck Grassley
- All the apps Facebook has banned for improperly sharing user information with third parties.
- How many times Facebook has required audits of apps to make sure improperly transferred data was deleted.
Senator Dianne Feinstein
- How many fake accounts Facebook has removed.
Senator Maria Cantwell
- Whether Facebook employees worked alongside Cambridge Analytica when they embedded with the Trump campaign in 2016.
Senator Roger Wicker
- Whether Facebook Messenger collects call and text data from minors for account syncing.
- Whether Facebook can “track a user’s Internet browsing activity, even after that user has logged off of the Facebook platform.”
- How Facebook discloses that kind of tracking to its users.
Senator Patrick Leahy
- Whether a specific set of “unverified, divisive pages” of Facebook users, shown on a large poster board, were in fact Russian-created groups.
Senator Lindsey Graham
- Specific regulations that Facebook would propose for the tech industry.
Senator Amy Klobuchar
- Where the 87 million people impacted by the Cambridge Analytica fiasco are geographically located.
- Whether he would support a rule to require notifying users of a breach within 72 hours.
Senator Roy Blunt
- Whether and how Facebook tracks users across devices. (In fairness, the wording here wasn’t very clear.)
Senator Ted Cruz
- Whether Facebook is a neutral public forum or engaged in free speech (specifically as relates to Section 230 immunity under the Communications Decency Act; Zuckerberg did say that he thinks Facebook is “a platform for all ideas”).
Senator Sheldon Whitehouse
- Whether Aleksandr Kogan, the developer who sold the data of millions of Facebook users along to Trump-affiliated political firm Cambridge Analytica, still has a personal Facebook account.
Senator Deb Fischer
- “On the points that you collect information, if we call those categories, how many do you store of information that you are collecting?” (Presumably this just means how many data points does Facebook collect on its users.)
Senator Ed Markey
- Details around how to protect minors—whether that takes the form of a privacy bill of rights, or a “discussion,” in Zuckerberg’s words.
Senator Jerry Moran
- How Zuckerberg sees Facebook’s recently announced bug bounty in the context of “the sharing of information not permissible, as compared to just unauthorized access to data.” (The point here seemed to be that bug bounties don’t do anything to prevent the sharing of data that’s authorized but through opaque processes, which is true, because those aren’t bugs.)
Senator Corey Booker
- The details around if and how Facebook would allow civil rights groups to audit credit and housing companies that operate on the platform.
Senator Dean Heller
- How many Nevada residents were among the 87 million Facebook users caught up in the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
- How long Facebook retains a user’s data after they delete their account. (The best Zuckerberg could offer: “I think we try to move as quickly as possible.”)
Senator Gary Peters
- The set of principles Facebook will use to guide its development of artificial intelligence.
Senator Tammy Baldwin
- What firms Kogan sold the data of up to 87 million Facebook users to, in addition to Cambridge Analytica and Eunoia. (“There may have been a couple of others as well,” Zuckerberg said.)
- More information about how Facebook can be confident that its political ad restrictions really have blocked out foreign entities.
Senator Shelley Moore Capito
- If Facebook would “please bring some fiber”—high-speed internet—to West Virginia. (“We do have a group at Facebook that is working on trying to spread Internet connectivity in rural areas,” said Zuckerberg, “and we would be happy to follow up with you on that.”)
Senator Cory Gardner
- Exactly Facebook’s systems work when you attempt to wipe your data, as part of deleting your account.
Senator Todd Young
- Details around potential legislation that would codify that people own their online data, and require platforms to offer more opt-in settings.
Representative Frank Pallone
- Why Zuckerberg can’t give a one-word answer to the question of whether he would commit to “changing all user default settings to minimize, to the greatest extent possible, the collection and use of users’ data.”
Representative Fred Upton
- Why Facebook blocked an ad from a former Michigan Lottery commissioner announcing his run for state senate.
Representative Eliot Engel
- More detail about how Facebook’s AI tools help catch fake accounts from Russia or others.
Representative Gene Green
- If and how Facebook plans to implement the portion of Europe’s GDPR—a sweeping digital privacy law—that gives users the right to object to the processing of their personal data for marketing purposes in the US.
Representative Steve Scalise
- Whether Facebook uses data that’s collected from logged off users only for security purposes or as “part of the business model” as well.
- Whether the person (or people) who mistakenly banned popular conservative duo Diamond and Silk on Facebook were “held accountable in any way.”
Representative Jan Schakowsky
- How many firms total Kogan sold information to, and what their names are. (This was a follow-up to Senator Baldwin’s identical question Tuesday, which Zuckerberg had also said he’d follow up on.)
Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers
- More detail about how Facebook ensures that content reviewers aren’t biased against conservative or religious posts.
Representative G.K. Butterfield
- Whether Zuckerberg can commit to convening a meeting of CEOs in his field to develop a strategy to increase racial diversity in tech. (“I think that that’s a good idea and we should follow up on it,” Zuckerberg said.)
Representative Leonard Lance
- Input on the BROWSER Act, a bill that would require opt-in consent for sharing sensitive information with both telecoms and websites.
Representative Adam Kinsinger
- What if any valid law enforcement requests Facebook has honored in Russia.
Representative Morgan Griffith
- An update on Facebook’s rural broadband plans when available.
Representative Ben Luhán
- How many data points Facebook has on the average non-Facebook user.
Representative Debbie Dingell
- How many Facebook “Like” buttons there are on non-Facebook web pages.
- How many Facebook “Share” buttons there are on non-Facebook web pages.
- How many chunks of Facebook pixel code there are on non-Facebook web pages.
- Whether Zuckerberg’s team can get back to the committee within 72 hours.