Sen. John Kennedy warned on Sunday that Facebook needs to do more to address pressing data privacy issues and the spread of fake news — or the government may have to step in.
“Some people respond when they see the light. Others have to feel the heat,” the Louisiana Republican said ahead of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s congressional testimony this week. “I do not want to hurt Facebook. It’s done a lot of good. But how do we preserve the good things about Facebook while mitigating the obvious detrimental effects of it?”
Kennedy, who sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee that will hear Zuckerberg, voiced concerns not only about the breach but also about Facebook’s role in disseminating false information — which, he noted, helped contribute to a possible genocide against the Rohingya in Myanmar.
“We can do it the easy way, or the hard way,” he said on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” urging Zuckerberg to be frank and suggest solutions. “I do not want to regulate Facebook half to death, but we do have two major problems we’ve discovered.”
Kennedy also worried aloud that the issues may be “too big for Facebook to fix.”
“We’ve got to talk about the initial bargain,” he added. “Is it fair for me to give up all of my personal data to Facebook and apparently everybody else in the Western Hemisphere in exchange for me being able to see what some of my high school buddies had for dinner Saturday night?”
“Who owns my data?” Kennedy asked. “Do I own it, or does Facebook own it? The service agreement with Facebook — it’s written in Swahili. Nobody understands it.”
Zuckerberg is slated to testify Tuesday at a joint Senate Judiciary and Commerce hearing, and Wednesday at a House Energy and Commerce hearing.