WASHINGTON – Sen. Amy Klobuchar used Tuesday’s hearing with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to call for better privacy practices at the social media giant, and to tout her proposal to subject Facebook and other companies to tougher disclosure requirements for political advertising.
At the joint Senate hearing, Klobuchar, D-Minn., joined colleagues in pressing Zuckerberg on revelations that data-mining company Cambridge Analytica misused the data of 87 million Facebook users and, more broadly, that Russian interests had used the site to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.
“If someone breaks into my apartment with a crowbar and they take my stuff, it’s just like if the manager gave them the keys or if they didn’t have any locks in the door — it’s still a breach. It’s still a break-in,” said Klobuchar during the hearing of the Senate Judiciary and Commerce committees. “I believe we need to have laws and rules that are as sophisticated as the brilliant products you’ve developed here, and we just haven’t done that.”
Klobuchar asked Zuckerberg if the 126 million Facebook users exposed to content by Russia’s Internet Research Agency included the 87 million users affected by the Cambridge Analytica breach. Zuckerberg said Facebook is investigating and “it is entirely possible that there will be a connection there.”
Klobuchar suggested a rule that would require Facebook to notify its users of a breach within 72 hours. “I just think part of this was when people don’t even know when their data is breached — that’s a huge problem,” Klobuchar said.
“Senator, that makes sense to me and I think we should have our team follow up with yours to discuss the details around that more,” Zuckerberg said.
Klobuchar also asked Zuckerberg about a bill she co-sponsored last fall that would subject online political ads to the same disclosure requirements as those in print and on radio and TV.
Facebook had previously endorsed the measure; Twitter got on board with support on Tuesday.
Zuckerberg assured Klobuchar that he would work with lawmakers to pass the bill. “This, I think, is an important area for the whole industry to move on,” he said.