Remember when Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg faced the Congress and was grilled in front of two Senate committees. Nearly two months after both the hearings and a lot of criticism regarding the fact that Zuckerberg got off the hook with ease by dodging most of the questions from a panel of lawmakers that had not done their homework, the social media giant has given a 454 page long report with all the answers that Zuckerberg promised to get back on at a later time. He was called out later for not revisiting the questions or providing any answers for the things that he responded with that he will get back to the lawmakers.
Going over the document and the answers, it is clear that the company has taken great caution while crafting the answers about a range of thing from Cambridge Analytica scandal, content moderation policies and ad targeting. As pointed out by The Verge, this document tries to give a rough, broad and at the same time shallow overview of the company. According to the report, the written answers in the document are “flawless” yet some of them are unclear while answering some of the important questions pointed out in the hearing, for example, the response that Facebook targets ads on based of “multicultural affinity” in place of “race”.
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While answering the question of the company maintains “shadow profiles”, the company mentioned that it may show a general ad that is unrelated to the attributes of the user or an ad that would try to encourage users to sign up for Facebook. Facebook did not give proper answers to some of the questions such as providing a clear “yes” or “no” answer to the question that if the company tracks all the IP addresses that a Facebook user has used to log in to the service while resorting to “retention schedule” as an answer.
The company did point that it keeps a track of behavior of and the actions carried out by its users that include mouse movements to make sure that it is a real user instead of a bot or if the window is in the background or foreground, device signals, settings and other “unique identifiers”. Facebook acknowledged YouTube, Snapchat, Twitter, Pinterest, Vimeo, and others at its competition, though all these services are “partial replacements” to the experience that Facebook offers.
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It clarified that the settings and controls that it is introducing as part of GDPR compliance are available for all Facebook users across the world. However, ever since the hearing, new issues have surfaced including the report that Facebook shared the data of its users with more than 60 device manufacturers and there was a bug that made posts by 14 million users as public instead of the usual private settings.
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