, 94 tweets, 32 min read Read on Twitter
Flying to Ottawa on US holiday to provide evidence to 14 nations‘ Parliaments regarding data privacy, platform accountability and impact on democracy. For more than a year, Facebook and its CEO have obfuscated answering challenging questions from many of these same leaders.
I’ve documented across now multiple years of Twitter threads a number of the details which Facebook refuses to come clean on as it tries to lobby and intimidate its way out of tough government and press scrutiny. Here is one thread:
At the first and only previous meeting of this International Grand Committee, @Nelelijnen stated, ”Facebook sent its cat” despite the many requests for CEO. And the Facebook who appeared, Lord Allan, didn’t quite understand the Flemish phrase. Quite an exchange.
And then @Nelelijnen asked several great questions. First, she asked about Facebook smearing competitors/critics. IGC was literally 2 days before NYT reported FB COO Sandberg asked for Soros research. Allan earlier put this all on FB’s Elliot Schrage. nytimes.com/2018/11/29/tec…
And then Allan perpetuates key myth of the ad tech and tech platform‘s lobbies that surveillance across the web is necessary for digital advertising. This is patently false and it’s highly likely Facebook is violating GDPR. FB has many investigations underway on this right now.
I’ll be happy to discuss how web-wide tracking creates information gatekeepers and actually harms legit publishers. Also why the German Cartel Office decision is the best way to force Facebook to follow GDPR, compete with itself and match consumer expectations. See you in Ottawa.
Here are my full remarks from the hearing last night. I’ll post here from now on to capture key points today in one thread.
One must note these 14 countries key lawmakers flew in from all over globe to make it easier for Facebook CEO to answer questions. All of them can get “local Facebook policy person” to show at a hearing.
At the first IGC, the local U.K. policy guy showed up with much obfuscation. (1) he told them something about Facebook’s historic data practices which a former FTC witness later in hearing told Parliaments he hadn’t been truthful to them. They weren’t pleased.
(2) he said the Definers firm work to attach Facebook’s critics was the work of Elliot Schrage and then literally two days after IGC later NYT reported Facebook’s COO had requested the inquiry into Soros.
He told @IanCLucas that CEO Zuckerberg didn’t know about Cambridge Analytica and GSR until 2018 ✌🏾🤔 which is a simply ridiculous answer in which he didn’t even relay their obfuscation / written lawyer answer properly. Real question is who knew before Dec 9, 2015.
here is my thread from the first International Grand Committee on Nov 27, 2018 in case anything from previous hearing surfaces today which per tweets above it may.
About to get underway with Day 2. Packed Committee room. @mariaressa by video from Manila. Many important lawmakers in the room including platforms’ EU home Ireland, UK, Germany, Canada and fourteen nations in total.
we're underway, @Moonalice rightly points out much of Google and Facebook's data is collected passively outside consumer expectations rather than as part of service. Search for "Google Data Collection" and find a report documenting Google's data practices. digitalcontentnext.org/wp-content/upl…
Here is a screengrab per request of written long form of my remarks. Video again also here. Back to today's hearing.
now the wonderful @mariaressa. She makes light of being in same clothes from last night (it's actually her same day as she is in Manila with impeded travel due to many indictments and harassment by her government. Her only crime has been journalism). Great witness, @bobzimmermp.
the story of @mariaressa company's growth and the weaponization of social media in Philippines (where 98% of Internet happens through Facebook) after Duterte's election. she is live explaining how harassment happens through all of the gory details.
according to @mariaressa they introduce lies, if a woman, sexually attack her (these tweets she reads are grotesque and abhorrent), create hashtags about arresting her, then pound through social media making it into facts and corruption.
I'll post a link to video @mariaressa open later today. Bottom-line, pay attention to places like Philippines if you want to know what can happen without holding social media accountable. Maria tried to warn CEO Zuckerberg personally before the world was focused on these issues.
Now to Q&A. @DamianCollins asks about look-a-like targeting and custom audience matching (already demonstrating savviness of committee), @Moonalice rightly points out microtargeting inverts allows political election work to fragment into 1-1 campaigning to suppress.
question from @JoStevensLabour asks @Moonalice what Mark Zuckerberg fears most, antitrust or privacy. McNamee says privacy, although I would argue enforcing privacy breaks FB biz model (see Google's actions in EU) leading to enforcement for antitrust.
now @shoshanazuboff how surveillance capitalists use their ideology to dictate outcomes. this hearing so far includes many of the voices which Google and Facebook do whatever they can to suppress from hearings in Washington.
Jim Balsillie repeats the call we've heard elsewhere that micro-targeted ads should simply be banned during elections. the @The_IPA has also called for this and the UK data regulator has asked the question whether it is even legal under GDPR.
next @Moonalice points out if Facebook went away tomorrow, the consumer service would be replicated, it just may be less profitable and have better values. it's their profit model that is the problem.
deep appreciation for @CharlieAngusNDP remarks and question to @mariaressa on how international governments can support and be helpful to her issues. She praises Canada's support for human rights and rightly expresses concern for President Trump's support towards Duterte.
Estonia leader suggests difficulty of putting toothpaste back in the tube in regards to Facebook and Google's business model. @Moonalice says "this isn't about putting the toothpaste back in but formulating a toothpaste that stops poisoning people...it's all about the biz model."
McNamee succinctly also points out difficulty for representatives to challenge and regulate these companies' biz model but constituents will not be unhappy about limiting Facebook and Google's business models.
last point by @Moonalice important. It's why Facebook and Google's trade groups attempt to convince industry and public that limitations on their surveillance biz model will harm journalism and free media. This is outrageous BS but it's one of their key narratives.
their other arguments are (2) FUD that China will race ahead of us, (3) Sandberg/Zuckerberg have tried to argue they would have to charge for FB (despite $55B in high-margin advertising profit) and (4) most recently, you need us to protect you.
Two of Google and Facebook's favorite myths to pop in advance of testimony later today. (1) "we're GDPR compliant" (this ignores French decision against Google), new Ireland investigation of Google announced last week and this report today: thedrum.com/news/2019/05/2…
(2) they'll also argue everyone else surveils and targets ads based on their data so any changes will harm free media and local journalism. New empirical research shows behavioral targeted ads mostly serve intermediaries and publishers only get a measly 4% lift in revenues.
and Balsillie makes two important calls for (1) IGC to continue in pursuit of sharing best practices and educate across nations against powerful tech companies and (2) increase protection for whistleblowers, this is really key.
Estonia leader speaks from experience on hybrid warfare by Russia on today's topics before asking panelists about GDPR. Balsillie strongly supports and points out how it protects other citizens to be able to see how their data is processed (see @profcarroll case).
and @Moonalice also weighs in supporting GDPR but expresses concern about what it doesn't cover. I'm not sure he's entirely up to speed on it as it does cover issues he mentions and fines can be (should be) significant. He's right the time it takes to enforce is a concern.
if Google and Facebook actually embraced and followed the letter of GDPR law, they would have enormous business challenges. Ask Google how many different purposes they process data and know they only communicate one and it's already been found illegal by one DPA.
Quick break before Facebook testifies. They've sent their local guy (instead of CEO) who is being challenged by press for "thumbing their noses at international governments." He then gets pulled by his comms person to escape questions.
opening remarks about Facebook's resistance to accountability. @IanCLucas has great point (which I believe applies to press also), lawmakers/global leaders globally should reconsider allowing Facebook's CEO/COO access in closed-door meetings if they won't answer public questions.
Facebook attempting to use meetings with President Macron post-Christchurch which is misleading. It's my understanding they only sent CEO Zuckerberg to France after significant risk of embarrassment and public shaming. It wasn't leadership by Facebook.
Facebook's Chan is going through its collaboration on various global efforts. Q&A will be interesting. Many of the lawmakers are now super savvy and miles past these talking points and likely exhausted by Facebook's obfuscations on many issues.
it's interesting neither Google, Facebook or Twitter's CEOs showed up for 14 nations. It would be good to know whether this was a coordinated nose-thumbing (likely through their lobby group) so that no one broke from the pack. Likely impossible to get truth on this, though.
Q&A begins. @DamianCollins expresses significant concern on behalf of committee deceptive information is a harm to democracy. Then asks about Facebook why it decided not to remove the video of @SpeakerPelosi.
Facebook's Potts tries to go into a policy answer. @DamianCollins sets the tone by shutting him down and demanding a specific answer why they won't actually take it down. It's a good line of questions. Facebook's Chan tries to interrupt to slow it down.
I want to point out this a Conservative political from the United Kingdom grilling a Facebook executive on allowing for distortion and harassment of a liberal US politician. This is multiparty, transatlantic support of asking difficult questions.
Co-Chair @beynate reads Zuckerberg post two months ago about looking forward to talking to lawmakers around the world in the context of Zuckerberg thumbing his nose to 14 nations.
and @beynate smartly asks about Facebook's rejection of the Canada Privacy Commissioner's report. Here is more info around this report and Facebook's dismissal of it.
Good. @beynate pointing out the irony of Facebook spending millions to lobby against GDPR and now claim they support it. Also a good reminder they have 11 open investigations whether they even are in compliance.
and @beynate referencing German competition authority decision in February. He is asking Facebook whether they should be using privacy and data protection as a key consideration in competition and M&A analysis considerations around the globe. I'll clip this later. super smart Q.
now @CharlieAngusNDP asking about Facebook's governance noting he doesn't recall anyone ignoring a summons. And then on jurisdiction challenges. Facebook has challenged nearly all lawmakers' jurisdiction from @AGKarlRacine (washington dc AG), Canada and UK.
and @CharlieAngusNDP grilling Facebook's Chan how Facebook sat on the breach violating Canadian law by sitting on it rather than informing for three years.
Facebook is shown a specific Sri Lanka example of toxic garbage on its platform that led to violence. Facebook's Potts confirms the existence of hate speech violating its practices and existing on its platform for months.
Facebook's Potts suggesting they take care of it when they are notified. It's worth noting the example included the words "kill, women, children, bombs." It was only a few months ago which makes the glory profile on Facebook's CTO's tough challenges look ridiculous.
Up next Ireland. Noting their government has jurisdiction over the tech companies with a massive focus on GDPR enforcement. Notes Irish DPA is focused on Facebook because of the concentration of concerns and receiving a formal complaint against Facebook every four days.
Facebook and Google's support of GDPR is rich considering it's heavy lobbying against it, the open investigations whether Facebook and Google are clearly violating GDPR and their disclosed risks in their SEC statements concerning privacy laws.
German lawmaker asking about Facebook's fighting of German Cartel Office ruling they can't collect/use data across its apps and web. I referenced it last night. FB's Chan points to (benign) common security, infrastructure. This is why honoring GDPR purpose limitations matters.
(side bar from me: absolutely no global lawmakers have questions for Twitter. this says something about the platforms, the intersection of competition/privacy policies and threats to society and democracies.)
just heard Facebook say for the second time in this hearing that if a piece of fake content led to harm then they would remove it. have they said this previously? it would be best to avoid harm before it happens.
Chair just announced a "working lunch" so they can continue with hearing. fabulous demo of lawmakers in action.
On this note, I made point in informal remarks last night how these committees have shown non-partisan, global democratic collaboration, now across multiple oceans, and lawmakers/staff/public/press together becoming educated on issues quickly. hat tip @DamianCollins @bobzimmermp
Unfortunately no food for the press and spectators. @Moonalice, if you and I order a few dozen pizzas, do you think they'll make them to this room deep in Parliament? 🍕
Facebook's not-so-hidden wish list: 1) external committee to allow for appeals of content decisions 2) focus on data portability, already written into GDPR, 3) globe giving it room to make its apps inseparable (Google has tried to do this with entire ad tech supply chain).
Twitter noting how it tries to raise credible/authoritative voices. Super important. We recently learned Google was doing same on YouTube (although @CommonsCMS also got them to admit they had just done it a few weeks before being asked at hearing).
St. Lucia lawmaker asking Facebook's Chan a smart question whether Facebook's understands co-qual branches of governments. He asks why Zuckerberg only speaks to government leaders but not to government Parliaments. This rings true with the current politics in Washington, too.
Facebook's Potts attempts to argue he and Chan were ordered by Zuckerberg and Sandberg to go in their place as local experts on the issues. This doesn't fly and @bobzimmermp shuts it down hard considering 14 nations and invite being sent by Parliaments to Zuckerberg and Sandberg.
Some back and forth by @bobzimmermp whether Facebook gave different answers on removing disinfo. FB points out they remove inauthentic accounts and says Pelosi video was posted by a real user. If I recall correctly, it was posted by an organization but @drewharwell would know.
and @frankbaylis gets Google to claim they didn't have time/engineering to comply with Canada law to put election ads into a database. then asks FB what he can do if he doesn't like its terms of use. FB focuses on posting less content ignoring most surveillance happens passively.
and Canada's Peter Kent grills on the Pelosi video decision again. I'm still bothers by the reach and velocity of the disinfo and it took 32hrs for anything to happen. Then he rightly points to antitrust reading @chrishughes recent statements on this topic.
next @IanCLucas references Feb 2018 hearing in US when Facebook did not inform on Cambridge Analytica one month prior to press reporting on it. Lucas has been smartly all over the timeline and has been asking for evidence from CEO/COO on questions going back 15 months.
Facebook absolutely misleading here by saying Facebook wasn't aware @IanCLucas wants to know when CEO Zuckerberg was aware of Cambridge Analytica. FB has repeatedly obfuscated answering question. I believe this is the precise reason Zuckerberg won't testify to these lawmakers.
As I hear Singapore asking questions of Facebook, I'm reminded of an incredible line of questions in Singapore last year around its lack of forthright answers to UK Parliament @CommonsCMS which resulted in this highlight reel.
and @beynate smartly goes back to Google and Twitter for view on privacy/data being consideration in competition analysis. Bobbing and weaving, Google likes consumer protection and competition authorities in two separate areas of law. Relevant to @DinaSrinivasan research.
wow @beynate asking super smart question about liability over how its algorithms provide reach, recommend and spread. All witnesses confirm but use the word, "responsibility." In the US, this could lead to questions whether CDA230 should recognize AI differently. cc @karaswisher
Facebook execs earlier told @IanCLucas that they weren't up to speed on transcripts from UK hearings but now later as they reference other answers from UK hearings Lucas calls them on it stating "it seems you do review evidence to other Parliaments."
.@IanCLucas asking how liability would impact their business model. Twitter exec references CDA230 providing "a degree of immunity." that's an understatement.
Great line of questions to Google about whether it accepts the term, "surveillance capitalism." Google exec asked whether their company collects data on users for profit. Google attempts to deflect by saying they collect data on "behaviors" and "actors." @shoshanazuboff
Twitter exec makes important point about accountability beyond regulatory departments but also to lawmakers. I would contrast this to actions by the other companies represented in light of Facebook leaderships' unwillingness to answer these lawmakers.
Great question by @DamianCollins - points out Facebook disclosed it had deleted 3.3B accounts in past six months, larger than its entire user base, and Collins asks about confidence in only 5% of active accounts being fake. Also rightly asks for detail. Why I called for audit.
Final question @DamianCollins asks about timeline on Clear Browsing History which was announced over a year ago. Facebook still can't even commit to a month. Collins mentions move fast and break things. I would argue they're going slow to make sure they don't break biz model.
Ouch. @bobzimmermp ends by pointing out he received notice this AM Facebook would send two execs not even in the top 100 most senior execs at Facebook. Session closes. Next up, US federal election commissioner who has been intently watching hearing and taking notes from back.
Signing of docs, now press conference. First question on next steps. @DamianCollins points out each time Facebook and Google don’t send senior execs they provide a great advertisement the companies can’t be trusted to self-regulate.
2nd question on @SpeakerPelosi video and @DamianCollins points out why he as a UK conservative is expressing concern for Dem in US. Collins making important point about freedom of reach vs freedom of expression. This should tie back to earlier ?s on @beynate algorithm liability.
Quite a scene with empty seats in foreground. Press conference is fiery. There are like 400+ million citizens across these democratic nations, their multi-party lawmakers aren’t happy at all, doing their jobs pressing for accountability.
Ireland leader @1Hildegarde making brilliant statement on importance of global work in helping to hold platforms accountable, shaping the future and working together especially for children. She also announces 3rd committee meeting will be scheduled in Dublin (tech’s home turf).
She also makes important point about these conversations and inquiries needing to happen out in the open and in public.
wow, Ellen Weintraub (Chair of U.S. Federal Election Commission) is delivering outstanding testimony expressing her concerns around the major tech platforms who have suggested, "We got this."
Agree. @JoStevensLabour once again delivered. She nails it here. Lawmakers flying across continents to show up but once again their invitees refused. ctv.news/O7qPSHT
Good read on today's events. Committee blasts Zuckerberg, Sandberg for 'abhorrent' snub of summons ctv.news/O7qPSHT
this question from @CharlieAngusNDP to current Privacy Commissioner pointing out his predecessor's recommendations a decade were ignored and would have prevented Cambridge Analytica and now latest decision being fought by Facebook saying Canada doesn't have jurisdiction.
Great question from Mr Zimmermann (Germany). He asks about what he calls “home-grown trolls” who are applying domestically the same techniques as foreign influence efforts.
Considering our current president’s rhetoric about the press and his recent testing of the presidential emergency alert system over mobile, I would recommend against this.
Great questions again by @beynate asking more questions about algorithmic liability when harmful content is promoted and given velocity and reach by platforms. To me, this all points back to antitrust in that they don’t have to maintain quality. See @DinaSrinivasan research.
Ha. @beynate points out we can buy $1,000 phones without reading any terms of use and not have to worry that they will work or be returnable. While at the same time, he needs to read and understand the terms in order to know what is being done with his data.
Cannataci points out most harm happens in first 48 hours of disinformation flowing on platform. Striking data point when one knows it took Facebook 32 hours to decelerate the doctored Pelosi video.
“Bots don’t have first amendment rights.” US Federal Election Commissioner at hearing.
Good observation by @CharlieAngusNDP that consent is a 2016 convo. Canadian privacy commissioner points toward consent working in bilateral relationships. Agree. However with major platforms, it’s I shared this last night.
Missing some Tweet in this thread?
You can try to force a refresh.

Like this thread? Get email updates or save it to PDF!

Subscribe to Jason Kint
Profile picture

Get real-time email alerts when new unrolls are available from this author!

This content may be removed anytime!

Twitter may remove this content at anytime, convert it as a PDF, save and print for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video

1) Follow Thread Reader App on Twitter so you can easily mention us!

2) Go to a Twitter thread (series of Tweets by the same owner) and mention us with a keyword "unroll" @threadreaderapp unroll

You can practice here first or read more on our help page!

Follow Us on Twitter!

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just three indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member ($3.00/month or $30.00/year) and get exclusive features!

Become Premium

Too expensive? Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal Become our Patreon

Thank you for your support!