Rep. Chris Collins Praises Mark Zuckerberg: ‘You Truly Are Doing Good’

In a change of pace from lawmakers questioning Mark Zuckerberg about his platform, Representative Chris Collins (R-NY) praised both Zuckerberg and Facebook, saying “And I sincerely know in my heart that you do believe in keeping all ideas equal.”

While appearing before the Energy and Commerce Committee of the House of Representatives in Washington today, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg seemed to have gained a fan in Representative Chris Collins (R-NY). Collins began his opening questioning of Zuckerberg by saying, “I wasn’t sure where I would be going with this but when you’re number 48 of 54 members you can do a lot of listening, and I’ve tried to do that today, and to frame where I am now I think — first of all thank you for coming — and there’s a saying ‘you don’t know what you know until you know it.'”

Collins continued, “and I think you’ve done a great benefit to Facebook and to yourself in particular as we now have heard without a doubt that Facebook doesn’t sell data. I think the narrative would be ‘of course you sell data’ and now we all know across America that you don’t sell data, I think that’s very good for you a very good clarification. The other one is, that the whole situation [and reason] we’re here is because a third-party app developer, Aleksander Kogan, didn’t follow through on the rules. He was told he can’t sell the data, he gathered the data and he did what he’s not supposed to and he sold the data. And it’s very hard to anticipate a bad actor doing what they’re doing until after they’ve done it and clearly you took actions after 2014 so one real quick question is, what did change, what data was being collected before you locked down the platform and how did that change to today?”

Mark Zuckerberg replied; “Before 2014 when we announced the change, someone could sign into an app and share some of their data but could also share basic information about their friends and in 2014 the major change was we said ‘now you’re not going to be able to share any information about your friends.’ So if you and your friend both happen to be playing a game together or on an app or listening to music together then that app could have some information from both of you because you each signed in and authorized that app but other than that, people wouldn’t be able to share information from their friends.”

Zuckerberg continued; “so the basic issue here where 300,000 people here used this poll and then the app, and also they sold it to Cambridge Analytica and Cambridge Analytica had access to as many as 87 million peoples information, wouldn’t be possible today. Today if 300,000 people used an app, the app might have information about 300,000 people.”

Collins replied to Zuckerberg; “I think that’s a very good clarification as well because people are wondering how does 300,000 become 87 million, so that’s something that’s good to know. And I guess my last minute is, I’ve heard the tone here and I’ve got to give you all the credit in the world, I could tell from the tone of we’ll say the other sides sometimes when we point to our left, but when the representative from Illinois said — to quote her ‘Who is going to protect us from Facebook?’ I mean that threw me back in my chair, that certainly was an aggressive, we’ll use the polite word aggressive but out of bounds kind of comment, just my opinion. And I’ve said I was interviewed by a couple of folks in the break and I said y’know as I’m listening to you today I’m quite confident that you truly are doing good, you believe in what you’re doing, 2.2 billion people are using your platform.”

“And I sincerely know in my heart,” said Collins; “that you do believe in keeping all ideas equal. And you may vote a certain way or not but that doesn’t matter, you’ve got 27,000 employees and I think the fact is that you’re operating under a Federal Trade Commission consent decree from 2011, that’s a real thing and it goes for twenty years so when someone said ‘do we need more regulations, do we need more legislation?’ I said no. What we have right now is Facebook with a CEO that’s mind is in the right place, doing the best you can with 27,000 people but the consent decree does what it does. There would be significant financial penalties were Facebook to ignore that consent decree so as I’m hearing this meeting go back and forth – I for one think it was beneficial, it’s good I don’t think we need more regulation and legislation now and I want to congratulate you I think on doing a good job here today and presenting your case and we now know thing’s we didn’t know beforehand, so thank you again.”

A video of the exchange can be seen below;

Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan_ or email him at lnolan@breitbart.com


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