If you don't want targeted ads on your news feed then you'll have to pay for it, says Mark Zuckerberg.

By Joe McDonough

Posted on April 11, 2018

In his first ever appearance in front of Congress, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has told lawmakers the social media giant intends to charge users a fee to not receive targeted advertising.

Speaking to Senator Bill Nelson, Zuckerberg said Facebook would need to be compensated to put an end to its product placement business model leveraging users’ personal information.

“Are you actually considering having Facebook users pay for you to not use that information?” Senator Nelson asked.

“In order to not run ads at all we would need some kind of business model,” Zuckerberg said.

“I am going to have to pay you in order not to send me, using my personal information, something that I don’t want?” Senator Nelson pushed.

“Yes, Senator,” he replied.

“You consider my personally identifiable data the company’s data and not my data, is that it?”, the Congressman asked, to which he answered no.


Extent of privacy breach rammed home

Zuckerberg again apologised and took responsibility for the Cambridge Analytica data-harvesting scandal, that has resulted in close to 90 million user profiles being scraped for personal information.

The under fire 33-year-old began the two-day congressional inquisition by saying, “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. I started Facebook, I run it, and I’m responsible for what happens here.”

Senator Dick Durbin then clearly illustrated the severity of the breach by probing Zuckerberg about what personal information he’d be willing to share.

“What hotel did you say at last night?” he asked, followed by whether the CEO would be happy for everyone to know the content of his private messages over the past week.

To those questions, he answered no: “not in this public forum”.

Senator Nelson added, “I am going to cut to the chase, if you and other social media companies do not get your act together none of us going to have any privacy anymore.”

If you and other social media companies do not get your act together none of us going to have any privacy anymore.


Notifications over Cambridge Analytica sent out

The tens of millions of Facebook users, whose personal information was violated by the Cambridge Analytica data-breach, have begun to receive alerts.

The New York Times, said a number of notifications had been sent out on Tuesday morning before Zuckerberg was due to face Congress.

The admission states the ‘This Is Your Digital Life’ personality quiz app had been accessed by a friend by logging in through Facebook, which resulted in personal information, including public profile, page likes, birthday and current city, being shared with the political data-mining firm Cambridge Analytica.

“It disturbs me that some of my information may have helped Donald Trump become president, even if I was only one of 87 million,” said Darrell West, who directs the Center for Technology Innovation at the Brookings Institution in Washington.

“I do think it mattered, just because it was information that was so detailed. It was providing a gold mine for the candidates who use it. It allowed them to target their advertising very effectively and really hone their message.”

Facebook likely to soon be regulated

Last month, Apple CEO Tim Cook called on lawmakers to regulate the social media networks, and it seems they are leaning towards doing just that.

John Thune, chairman of the US Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation committee, said self-regulation was clearly not working.

“In the past, many of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle have been willing to defer to tech companies’ efforts to regulate themselves. But this may be changing,” he said.