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Mark Zuckerberg Is Trying Desperately to Rebuild After Data Breach

Or is this too little, too late?

Ginny Dang

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In an interview with CNN on March 27th, Facebook’s chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, on the verge of the showdown over Facebook accountability, confirmed that he would be “happy” to testify before Congress.

He also emphasized that “Facebook testifies in Congress regularly, on a number of topics…What we try to do is to send the person at Facebook who will have the most knowledge about what Congress is trying to learn…typically people who whole job is in a [specific] area. I imagine, at some point, there will be a topic that I’m sole authority on, and I’ll be happy to [testify] then.”

Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley has invited CEOs from Facebook, Google, and Twitter to a hearing on data privacy on the second week of April. A Facebook spokesperson has declined that a hearing has been set, although there are rumors that it is to be scheduled on April 12th.

In the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal and political advertising, Facebook now enters the culmination of a privacy protection crisis, which led to the company’s stock nearing a bottom. According to CNN Money, Facebook plunged to its biggest drop in four years after losing $80 billion in market value. Playboy, SpaceX, and Tesla hit ‘delete’ on their Facebook pages over privacy concerns. In a statement from Playboy, “The recent news about Facebook’s alleged mismanagement of users’ data has solidified our decision to suspend our activity on the platform at this time. There are more than 25 million fans who engage with Playboy via our various Facebook pages, and we do not want to be complicit in exposing them to the reported practices”.

Facebook is not the only tech business attracting negative attention and experiencing share drops for disasters. Uber is under fire for killing a pedestrian with a self-driving car,  facing legal issues from both the government and the victim’s family. But both Facebook and Uber’s suffering is part of a larger phenomenon which has become more common for these companies: reaching a peak and then sliding downhill. Just one month before the Cambidge Analytica scandal, Facebook’s shares hit an all-time high. It is possible for Facebook to rebuild from this, just as other tech companies in the past have picked themselves up from controversy and legal trouble. But a revival of this size will take great effort from Zuckerberg, who will have to reinforce better values for Facebook as an organization. Zuckerberg’s contribution to modern society has been powerful, and it would be a shame to lose it all now.

Ginny is a junior Psychology major at Trinity College. She aspires to cultivate the spirit of a journalist and an essayist in her quest to become a writer.

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