Senators are calling on Fb chief Mark Zuckerberg to reply questions after the whistleblower’s revelations on the listening to

Facebook chairman and chief executive officer Mark Zuckerberg arrives to testify during the House Financial Services hearing on an investigation into Facebook and its impact on the financial services and housing sectors on Wednesday, October 23, 2019.

Bill Clark | CQ Roll Call, Inc. | Getty Images

When the senators absorbed Tuesday’s testimony from the Facebook whistleblower leaked the company’s internal research to reporters, they requested to hear from the person in charge.

Frances Haugen, a former product manager at Facebook, told a Senate subcommittee that the company is repeatedly prioritizing profits over user safety. Haugen said she felt compelled to report because “almost no one outside of Facebook knows what’s going on inside Facebook”.

There is one person in the company who knows more than anyone: CEO Mark Zuckerberg. But on Sunday, when “60 Minutes” was about to broadcast Haugen’s first press interview as an exposed whistleblower, Zuckerberg released a video showing him sailing with his wife Priscilla Chan.

“Mark Zuckerberg should look at himself in the mirror today, and yet instead of taking responsibility and showing leadership, Mr. Zuckerberg is setting sail,” said Senator Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., Chairman of the subcommittee who held the hearing Tuesday . “No apology, no admission, no action, nothing to see here. Mark Zuckerberg, you have to come before this committee, you have to explain to Francis Haugen, us, the world and the parents of America what you did and why you did it did.”

Since the Wall Street Journal published a number of reports last month based on documents provided by Haugen, Zuckerberg has been noticeably silent on the matter. The stories uncovered numerous worrying issues in the Facebook apps, as well as the company’s own research showing that Instagram is detrimental to teenage mental health.

The closest Zuckerberg got to the subject after a story in the New York Times stated that Facebook’s current PR strategy is to distance the CEO from scandals and not apologize for them. The Times incorrectly stated in the story that Zuckerberg recently posted a video of him riding an electric surfboard.

Zuckerberg reacted sarcastically.

Frances Haugen, a former Facebook employee, says during the hearing of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transport Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety and Data Security titled Children’s Online Safety-Facebook Whistleblower on Tuesday, October 5, 2021 at Russell- Building out.

Tom Williams | CQ Roll Call, Inc. | Getty Images

“Look, it’s one of the media things to say the wrong things about my work, but it’s over the line to say I drive an electric surfboard when this video clearly shows a hydrofoil that I do on my own legs pump “, Zuckerberg wrote on Facebook.

He was referring to a July 4th viral video that showed him driving a hydrofoil while holding an American flag. In conjunction with the weekend’s sailing video, senators said Zuckerberg was missing the moment.

“Mark Zuckerberg is going to sail and not apologize,” Senator Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., Said during the hearing. “I think it is time to act. And I think you are the catalyst for this action.”

In his distance from the reports in the journal and the whistleblower documents, Zuckerberg let other company representatives make them public. For example, last week, Facebook sent Antigone Davis, its global security chief, to testify before the same committee about the journal’s coverage and the company’s research.

“The buck stops with him”

And on Tuesday, when Haugen testified, Facebook spokesman Andy Stone took to Twitter to discredit the ex-employee’s authority by pointing out that she wasn’t working directly on the issues at stake.

Senator Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., Read Stone’s tweet towards the end of the hearing and said the company had an open stage to share their side of the story.

“I’ll just tell Mr. Stone this: If Facebook wants to talk about their targeting of children, if they want to discuss their practices, invasion of privacy, or violations of children’s online privacy law, I invite you to step forward, sworn.” and testify before this committee, “said Blackburn.” We look forward to hearing from you and welcome your testimony. “

Ultimately, it’s Zuckerberg they want to question. He is the founder, visionary, largest shareholder and still controls over half of the voting rights. Haugen submitted this to the committee.

“Mark has built an organization that is very KPI-oriented,” said Haugen. “It’s not supposed to be flat, there is no one-sided responsibility. The metrics make the decision. Unfortunately, that’s a decision in itself. And in the end, if he’s CEO and Chairman of Facebook, he is.” responsible for these decisions. “

“The goat stops with the goat with him?” asked Blumenthal.

“The buck stops with him,” said Haugen.

After the hearing, Stone tweeted a statement from Facebook suggesting that Haugen was unable to know the ins and outs of the company.

“We disagree with her characterization of the many subjects she testified about,” said Facebook.

Senator Ed Markey, D-Mass., Thanked Haugen for coming, called her “a twenty-first century American heroine,” and said the committee was after Zuckerberg.

“Here is my message to Mark Zuckerberg: your time to invade our privacy, promote toxic content and exploit children and adolescents is over,” said Markey. “We will not allow your company to further harm our children and families and our democracy.”

After the hearing, Blumenthal said it was premature to summon Zuckerberg, adding that he should voluntarily appear before Congress.

“He has a public responsibility to answer these questions,” said Blumenthal.

– CNBC’s Lauren Feiner contributed to this report.

SEE: Facebook investor on whistleblower statement

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