Sen. John Kennedy questioned Facebook CEO; some local users concerned

Sen. John Kennedy questioned Facebook CEO; some local users concerned
Source: Raycom Media

(WVUE) - U.S. Sen. John Kennedy, R-Louisiana was among the senators who got to question Facebook Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg Tuesday afternoon in the wake of the data collection scandal.  Meanwhile, some locals joined millions of other Americans in receiving alerts from Facebook.

"There are some impurities in the Facebook punchbowl, and they've got to be fixed," said Sen. Kennedy to Zuckerberg.

"Senator you can already delete any of the data that's there," said Zuckerberg in answering one of Sen. Kennedy's questions.

"I just assume that like the Russians like already have my data, I feel like I've already been hacked at some point in my life," said Jeremy Evans, a student at Tulane University in New Orleans, who uses Facebook.

He may not care much about who may be snooping into his personal data on Facebook, but some other local users do.

"They should maintain individuals' privacy a lot better than they have been maintaining it, so that's a huge concern," said Cheredith Rhone, a Tulane student.

Congress thinks privacy is a big deal. Zuckerberg was bombarded by cameras when he arrived to testify before the Senate Commerce and Judiciary Committees.  His words offered contrition.

"We didn't take a broad enough view of our responsibility and that was a big mistake and it was my mistake and I'm sorry," said Zuckerberg in his testimony.

Zuckerberg's Capitol Hill apology came as Facebook began sending alert to 87 million users. It notifies recipients that one of their friends used Facebook to log in to a now banned personality quiz called, "This Is Your Digital Life."  The notice said the app misused personal information by sharing it with Cambridge Analytica, a data-mining firm affiliated with the Trump Campaign.  Cambridge Analyltica allegedly gathered personal information from 87 million Facebook users to try to influence the 2016 elections.

"I think they're taking a very global approach in just notifying all the users," said Tulane Social Media Professor Ashley Nelson.

She emphasized that the Facebook settings option allows users to see which apps and websites are collecting data.

"You can go to your settings and of course if you want to make sure that only your friends see your posts, you don't let the whole global Facebook world see your posts," said Nelson.

And she said users can control the allowed ads.

Sen. Kennedy warned Zuckerberg that some in Congress want to regulate Facebook.

"I don't want to have to vote to regulate Facebook, but, by God, I will," said Sen. Kennedy.

"I do believe that there should be stricter government regulations that help protect the users' privacy," said Rhone.
And in terms of regulations, a lot of people what that might look like here in the U.S.

"In the U.K., they've already dealt with this two years ago and they actually have a law coming into play in May of this year and it's the right to be forgotten, that's what it's called, yes, so that any social company cannot give away your personal data and that's your right," said Professor Nelson.

Still she does not believe there will be a mass exodus from the social media platform but she believes users' have learned a lot lately.

"I will continue to monitor my settings, but as far as deleting my Facebook I don't think I'll do that," said Rhone.

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