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Facebook Offers Nearly 500 Pages of Answers To Congress' Questions From Zuckerberg's Testimony (washingtonpost.com) 62

An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Washington Post: Facebook pledged to continue refining its privacy practices and investigating its entanglement with Cambridge Analytica in nearly 500 pages of new information supplied to Congress and published Monday (Warning: source may be paywalled; alternative source) -- though the social giant sidestepped some of lawmakers' most critical queries. Much as it did during the hearing, Facebook told lawmakers on the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Senate Commerce Committee that it is reviewing all apps available on its platform that had access to large queries of data, a process that already has resulted in 200 suspensions.

Facebook did acknowledge that its consultants embedded in 2016 presidential campaigns, including President Trump's team, "did not identify any issues involving the improper use of Facebook data in the course of their interactions with Cambridge Analytica." In another exchange, Facebook said it had provided "technical support and best practices guidance to advertisers, including Cambridge Analytica, on using Facebook's advertising tools." Facebook also pointed to new tools meant to address its privacy practices, including a feature called Clear History, which "will enable people to see the websites and apps that send us information when they use them, delete this information from their accounts, and turn off our ability to store it associated with their accounts going forward," the company said.
The social network did continue to sidestep many of the lawmakers' questions and concerns. The Washington Post provides a couple examples: "Delaware Sen. Christopher A. Coons (Del.), for example, probed whether Facebook had ever learned of any application developer 'transferring or selling user data without user consent' and in violation of Facebook's policies. In response, Facebook only committed in writing that it would 'investigate all apps that it had access to large amounts of data.'"

Facebook also didn't address Democratic Sen. Patrick J. Leahy's concerns. He asked Facebook to detail if the Obama campaign in 2012 had violated "any of Facebook's policies, and thereby get banned from the platform." Facebook said: "Both the Obama and Romney campaigns had access to the same tools, and no campaign received any special treatment from Facebook."

You can view the nearly 500 pages of new information here.

Facebook Offers Nearly 500 Pages of Answers To Congress' Questions From Zuckerberg's Testimony

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    As I understand it, it was backlash from the discovery that the Obama campaign (among others) were able to access your data simply because a friend signed up that CAUSED the rule change that then made Cambridge Analytica doing the same thing to be against the rules. So the Obama campaign was allowed access under the 2012 rules, but then the rules were changed in 2015 due to public outcry, meaning that by 2016 Cambridge Analytica's identical use of the data was against the rules.

    • Also it isn't what you do, but how you do it.
      For the most part the Obama campaign was about bringing in voters to vote for him, while Cambridge Analytica was using the data to prevent people from voting for the opposition.

      Democracy is about people voting their opinions. Ideally everyone should be voting for good or for ill.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        For the most part the Obama campaign was about bringing in voters to vote for him, while Cambridge Analytica was using the data to prevent people from voting for the opposition.

        So Obama's campaign was all about convincing people not to vote for his opposition, and Cambridge Analytica was ... the same thing? I fail to see how "bringing in voters to vote for you" is any different than "preventing people from voting for the opposition." By definition, if someone votes for you, you prevented them from voting for the opposition. That's how voting works. One person, one vote.

      • Also it isn't what you do, but how you do it. For the most part the Obama campaign was about bringing in voters to vote for him, while Cambridge Analytica was using the data to prevent people from voting for the opposition.

        Democracy is about people voting their opinions. Ideally everyone should be voting for good or for ill.

        Exactly. While the shills are braying about O'blama as somehow a crime dwarfing Cambridge Analytica's actions, it is telling that in a Republican controlled Congress, that is happy to spend money investigating and re-investigating "liberal crimes", that we're not investigating O'blama for this.

      • by DarkOx ( 621550 ) on Tuesday June 12, 2018 @10:04AM (#56771542) Journal

        Ideally everyone should be voting for good or for ill.

        I strongly disagree with that statement. Democracy is about the people deciding how our nation will go forward. However before every election there is usually a set of questions that can be identified which will likely be decided by the next term of government. Frankly people should be 'responsible' in their voting. They should form whatever opinion they like and vote their conscience for sure but they also should:

        1) Know what the current issues are
        2) Know the policy options and where each candidate stands
        2a) Know something about the personal history of each candidate and decide if they are appropriate / qualified.
        3) Have some understanding of the basic facts around those issues.

        If they are not willing to do those things than no they should not vote. There are way to many people who just vote for their team - or vote for someone because someone else told them to do it. I don't think that constructively contributes to our societal decision making at all. In fact it actually just brings us nearer to mob rule. Its one of the BIG reasons I am opposed to early voting (not absentee just early) like it should have to be post marked near the date of the election. Early voting amounts to voting often before the all facts are in; it irresponsible!

        • 1) Know what the current issues are (Same issues from 40 years ago)
          2) Know the policy options and where each candidate stands (Impossible, always changes on a dime....or a bag of them)
          2a) Know something about the personal history of each candidate and decide if they are appropriate / qualified. (Ugh...this reminds of people trying to hire. Generally really bad at it. Just flip a coin...you will do just as good if not better.)
          3) Have some understanding of the basic facts around those issues. (Where do you p

        • Being that we are in a two party system (which I do not like) the ability to make an intelligent well informed voting decision is often not possible.
          It normally comes down to. Is my life better or worse with this guy in office. If it is worse, then I vote against them, if it better then I vote for them.

          1) Knowing what the current issues are is the responsibility of the person who is running, not the voter. I have my own issues, and the person running for office, will be willing to address them, or not add

        • Your position is that they have a duty to not vote. The counter position is that they have a duty to vote, and thus a duty to get informed.

          I strongly support the counter position, and find the argument that discourages voting repellent.

        • by houghi ( 78078 )

          If you only have two options, you do not have a democratic system, just like it is not a choice if the "Insurance Company" asks to break your left or your right leg after you coluntered to accept their protection for a fee.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by datavirtue ( 1104259 )

        Yeah...but you are not supposed to goad the rabble to the polls. Let the market sort it out. If people feel a need to go...they will go. If you have to convince people to vote they should not be voting.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      As I understand it, it was backlash from the discovery that the Obama campaign (among others) were able to access your data simply because a friend signed up that CAUSED the rule change that then made Cambridge Analytica doing the same thing to be against the rules. So the Obama campaign was allowed access under the 2012 rules, but then the rules were changed in 2015 due to public outcry, meaning that by 2016 Cambridge Analytica's identical use of the data was against the rules.

      That's revisionist bullshit.

      There was no backlash/outcry about the Obama campaign's use of Facebook data.

      On the contrary, it was celebrated:

      Data You Can Believe In [nytimes.com]

      The Obama Campaign’s Digital Masterminds Cash In

      Earlier this year, senior members of President Barack Obama’s campaign team took a trip to Las Vegas. Nevada holds a special place in Obama-wonk lore as the place where his monthslong strategy of defeating Hillary Clinton by slowly and surely amassing delegates emerged. But the operatives were not there in March for any political reason. They were there to make money — specifically to land what they hoped would be the first corporate client for their new advertising business, Analytics Media Group (A.M.G.). Its bland name obscures its relatively grand promise: to deliver to commercial advertisers some of the Obama campaign’s secret, technologically advanced formulas for reaching voters.

      ...

      The "outrage" was manufactured by the same media that fawned over Obama's use of the same data - but only because the "wrong" guy won.

    • Oh yeah Obama using Facebook data to win an election is fine https://www.theguardian.com/wo... [theguardian.com] Now that Trump did the same thing we need congressional hearings.

  • by cascadingstylesheet ( 140919 ) on Tuesday June 12, 2018 @09:11AM (#56771260)

    Facebook also didn't address Democratic Sen. Patrick J. Leahy's concerns. He asked Facebook to detail if the Obama campaign in 2012 had violated "any of Facebook's policies, and thereby get banned from the platform." Facebook said: "Both the Obama and Romney campaigns had access to the same tools, and no campaign received any special treatment from Facebook."

    Leahy's "concern" is clearly to try to exonerate the Obama campaign and get the "Trump used teh (now) evil Facebook data slurping" weapon back.

  • Israel offered 3 tonnes of documents on Iran nuclear program. Ukraine offered more 100 kilograms of documents on Russia involvement in Donbas. and what? Facebook? just 500 pages? That is not enough!
  • "My hearing wasn't a nothing-sandwich. THIS is a nothing-sandwich! ..... Aaaaahahahaha ... Chew on it!"

  • WHO CARES!?!

    So, Facebook knows I got married and she took a selfie of the two of us at the lake.

    Meanwhile, the credit rating companies have a record of nearly every credit card purchase I've ever made. You could even have a "credit report" even if you've NEVER bought anything on credit. I bet most of you didn't know that the credit card companies sells your purchase information to their "partners". The contracts you signed gives them permission. The "partners" are the same companies that are stripping F

    • this is whataboutism.

      Stop comparing to other things. Is it OK what Facebook is doing Y/N?

      If the answer to that is N then congress is fine going after them. You can't make the world better all at once, and chasing after perfection means you'll never get anywhere.

  • 1. Why shouldn't we just throw your worthless ass in jail forever and forget you exist?
    2. Why shouldn't we shut down Facebook for good and burn every last scrap of it to the ground?
    • 2. A: Because the only people more square than those still using Facebook, are the ones who want destroy it because they think they're remedying a social ill. "Like, Facebook is what my *parents* still use."

      • The only people more square than that are the ones who actually unironically believe that Facebook and all other so-called 'social media' is somehow not a malignant cancer on our civilization.

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