Mark Zuckerberg went to Washington to face lawmakers, to apologize for Facebook’s recent missteps and to support (some) regulation of a tech industry that’s operated for years with little government oversight.
On his first day of testimony Tuesday, he met a room full of men and women who struggled to understand what Facebook does, how the social platform works and even how to regulate it. But his hearing Wednesday before the House Energy and Commerce Committee was defined by pointed questions from representatives who appeared to have done their homework on the company.
Some like New Jersey Rep. Frank Pallone hammered Zuckerberg on default privacy settings. California Rep. Anna Eshoo asked Zuckerberg if was affected by the Cambridge Analytica scandal, he revealed that it was. And Florida Rep. Kathy Castor raised concerns about how much Facebook systems follows people as they browse the web, whether or not they’re logged in or even have an account.
Zuckerberg, who escaped unscathed from the nearly four dozen Senators, settled into his roll as both an explainer of technology and receiver of the occasional finger-wag.
Zuckerberg also spent his time attempting to shore up Facebook’s image by explaining how he plans to, and become about on his site. He also tried to rebuild user’s trust.
“We didn’t take a broad enough view of our responsibility, and that was a big mistake. It was my mistake, and I’m sorry.” he said, repeating what has become his mantra through his(he said the same line Tuesday, which was a repeat of times he’s said it before that). “I started Facebook, I run it, and I’m responsible for what happens here.”
Zuckerberg, 33, entered the hearing room Tuesday, tense and nervous, as he typically is, trading in his T-shirts and hoodies for .
By Wednesday, Zuckerberg appeared relaxed. His deer-in-the-headlights stare from Tuesday was gone, his shoulders were relaxed and he didn’t sweat profusely under pressure. He didn’t appear to egregiously offend any of the lawmakers, either.
That all adds up to Zuckerberg likely to squeak by his first series of hearings on Capitol Hill without many repercussions. Quite the opposite, Senator Lindsey Graham, among others, asked him to help write legislation in the future.
Facebook shares on Wednesday built on the previous day’s gains. By midday Wednesday, Facebook shares had risen nearly 2 percent to $166.86, after a 4.5 percent rise the day before.
“He appeared focused, conciliatory and genuinely engaged in a productive discussion with legislators,” said Wells Fargo analyst Ken Sena, of Zuckerberg by the end of testimony Tuesday. “This as a positive sign.”