Silicon Valley to Washington: Why Don’t You Get Us?

Posts: 2700
Joined: Sun Oct 15, 2006 8:11 pm

Silicon Valley to Washington: Why Don’t You Get Us?

Postby Hanna » Thu Apr 12, 2018 7:58 pm

After lawmakers volleyed dozens of questions at Facebook Inc. chief Mark Zuckerberg, Silicon Valley had one for Congress: Why don’t you get us?

Some tech workers tuning in to Mr. Zuckerberg’s hourslong session some 2,500 miles away on Tuesday said they cringed at his interrogators, worried that their understanding of the internet could result in poorly crafted or overly burdensome regulation.

Sen. Brian Schatz (D., Hawaii) mistook WhatsApp, Facebook’s popular text-messaging tool, for an email service. Sen. Roger Wicker (R., Miss.) asked for clarification when Mr. Zuckerberg referred to internet service providers as the “pipes” of the internet. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R., W.Va.) asked whether Facebook could provide West Virginia with “fiber”—a service the company doesn’t offer.

“It’s a reminder of how far Silicon Valley has to go to educate policy makers and the public about our companies and products,” said Rebecca Reeve, CEO of public-relations firm Rsquared Communication, which represents tech startups such as messaging company Slack Technologies Inc. and streamed all four hours of the hearings on an office television.

Government officials and tech executives have a long history of poor communication. But the pressure to educate the public and find a common language is growing with the threat of greater government oversight. The congressional testimony, extending into Wednesday, is as much a public examination of the tech industry as it is a questioning of Facebook.

During Tuesday’s hearing, Sen. John Thune (R., S.D.) and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa) both said federal intervention in tech platforms might be necessary. Or as Sen. John Kennedy (R., La.) put it, “I don’t want to vote to have to regulate Facebook, but by God I will.”

The talk of regulation bothered George Arison, a founder of used-car-buying website Shift Technologies Inc.

“Most people in Congress don’t have a clue about what [tech] actually does,” he said. “That’s a very dangerous situation to be in.”


Mr. Zuckerberg mostly remained poised as he answered questions from the senators, many more than twice his age, but having to repeatedly explain how Facebook works left him seeming agitated at times. During one exchange, Sen. Kennedy asked whether Facebook would allow users to have certain controls over their data. Mr. Zuckerberg replied, seven times, that Facebook already does.

Sen. Gary Peters (D., Mich.) asked whether Facebook is using the microphones of users’ phones to listen in to what they are doing and saying—a charge the company has denied repeatedly in recent months.

“You’re talking about this conspiracy theory,” a slightly animated Mr. Zuckerberg answered. “We don’t do that.”

More.. ... 1523451203

User avatar
Posts: 17694
Joined: Sun Oct 15, 2006 3:12 pm

Re: Silicon Valley to Washington: Why Don’t You Get Us?

Postby Fordama » Fri Apr 13, 2018 8:36 am

While there were some good questions, there were a lot of questions from people who probably use "password" as their passwords.

It's a simply concept--you put stuff on Facebook, it belongs to Facebook. Facebook may sell that info, but they should also protect it from getting stolen. Most of us who have been surfing the web for years understand that. To some of these Senators, talking to Zuckerberg was like a Martian talking to a fungo (it's baseball season, so...)
This country of the United States was not built by those who waited and rested and wished to look behind them.---JFK

User avatar
John Q. Public
Site Admin
Posts: 16843
Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2006 5:56 am

Re: Silicon Valley to Washington: Why Don’t You Get Us?

Postby John Q. Public » Fri Apr 13, 2018 9:23 am

But there were times when Zuckerberg came off like a slimy used car salesman, too. Like making the assumption that everybody who uses Facebook fully understands all of the controls when many of us wouldn't even know where to look for them and wouldn't understand what they do once we found them and that people fully understand what they're giving third parties access to when they click "allow access to my profile" or "sign in using Facebook". I'm sure most users don't realize that many of the fun or interesting links people forward around are really only disguised data scraping tools. Grandmas aren't of a mind to think about those things.

The one that surprised me when I downloaded my data was that many of the articles that have shown up in my feed were actually ads. Not a problem for me but I think they should be labeled as "paid content". I think the whole site could use some disclaimers.

But, hey, I still think that FB provides a valuable service by doing what they do. If I were to advertise this site, Facebook is where I'd do it. Nobody else can target ads as precisely as they do.
Don't look at me, I just work here.

Return to “National”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest