Mark Zuckerberg promises someone will be in touch.
The Facebook CEO answered questions Tuesday from members of both the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, and in the process made it clear to elected officials that someone — but not him — would eventually get back to them.
In response to a question from Sen. Chuck Grassley, Republican chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, about how many times user data was improperly transmitted to third-parties, Zuckerberg passed the buck to presumably well-paid Facebook employees hit with a stack of high-stakes homework assignments.
“If you’d like I can have my team follow up with you after this,” he told the senator.
In response to another question from Grassley, who’s from Iowa, Zuckerberg repeated the line. “Again I can make sure that our team follows up with you on anything about the specific past stats that would be interesting.”
This was not a two-off affair. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, a Democrat from Minnesota, asked if the 87 million people whose data was harvested by Cambridge Analytica were concentrated in any specific states. Zuckerberg’s response?
“I do not have that information with me, but we can follow up with your office.”
When she asked about a possible rule requiring Facebook to notify users of data breaches within 72 hours, Zuckerberg once again delegated the task to someone at Facebook HQ.
“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.”
This happened again and again over the course of the roughly five-hour hearing. While Zuckerberg no doubt believes he had to subject himself to what turned out to be a rather tepid scolding, he clearly also knows that doesn’t mean he himself needs to do any of the work required to clean up this mess.
Facebook undoubtedly has a huge internal team — not to mention the scores of lobbyists it employs on Capitol Hill — managing what can only be described as a crisis of its own making.
Because when you’re personally worth around $67 billion and stand no chance of getting fired from the company you founded, you might as well make someone else do it.
It’s just too bad the rest of us can’t delegate out the complicated and arduous work required to recover from Facebook’s fundamentally broken business model. It sure sounds nice, though.
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