Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg keeps composure after two days of USA hearings

Silicon Valley's finest all want the Pentagon's cloud contract, even if it's not a sensible idea

It worked. As the hearing wore on, and as senator after octogenarian senator betrayed little understanding of social media, Facebook's stock surged - a sure sign the company was off the hook.

During his most contentious questioning of the day, Congresswoman Anna Eshoo grilled Zuckerberg about whether he would change Facebook's business model to protect user privacy. Facebook shares jumped as Zuckerberg spoke to the senators, closing up 4.5 per cent in NY trading.

After a testy exchange with Zuckerberg, Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Colo., said Congress should consider imposing "really robust penalties" for social media companies that repeatedly compromise user information. Yet Facebook's surveillance is obliquely disclosed in terms-of-service language that, Zuckerberg acknowledged, nearly nobody reads. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., asked whether Facebook tracks users' devices even when they are not connected to Facebook.

With Facebook's users asking about their privacy, but Sen. "We did a bad job with this release, and I apologize for it", he blogged a year later, after launching an ill-fated feature that exposed how users were using third-party apps.

For all of Zuckerberg's claims that Facebook users own their data, users - and non-users - have no way of determining the full trove of data that the company stores on an individual.

Although shaky at times, Zuckerberg seemed to gain confidence as the day progressed.

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Facebook is under scrutiny after revelations that the data-mining and political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica obtained the data of tens of millions of Facebook users. He said Facebook had considered the data collection "a closed case" and had not alerted the Federal Trade Commission.

Since the scandal first hit equity markets on Monday, March 19, Facebook's stock price has declined by more than 10%, costing Zuckerberg $11 billion of wealth. He assured senators the company would handle the situation differently today.

The House hearing came a day after a five-hour questioning by USA senators, in which Mr Zuckerberg made no further promises to support new legislation or change how the social network does business.

In the hearings, Zuckerberg is not only trying to restore public trust in his company but also to stave off federal regulations that some lawmakers have floated. It was my mistake, and I'm sorry. "I believe to start a company in your dorm room and grow it to be at the scale we're at now without making some mistakes". "As a result, it doesn't appear your Facebook information was shared with Cambridge Analytica by "This Is Your Digital Life".

Some politicians grew frustrated at their limit of four minutes each to press Mr Zuckerberg on specifics, and chastised the billionaire at times for offering up rehearsed platitudes about valuing user privacy.

He outlined steps the company has taken to restrict outsiders' access to people's personal information.

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