A civil hearing

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A civil hearing


The author is the New York correspondent of the JoongAng Ilbo.



On April 10, Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, the world’s biggest social network, appeared at a U.S. Senate committee hearing. It was a joint hearing attended by 44 senators from the Judiciary Committee and Commerce Committee. Nearly half of the U.S. Senate was dealing with one CEO.

Instead of his signature grey T-shirt, Zuckerberg was dressed in a black suit with a white shirt and blue tie. At the witness seat, Zuckerberg seemed nervous. He allegedly neglected the unlawful leak of the personal information of 87 million users to a consulting firm connected to Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential election campaign.

The hearing was quite different from ones in the National Assembly in Yeouido. No lawmakers were yelling at conglomerate owners and calling businessmen criminals.

The hearing was filled with arguments and fact-checking. Senators calmly reproached Zuckerberg, and he said, “It was my mistake, and I’m sorry. I started Facebook, I run it, and I’m responsible for what happens here.” Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal said, “I was unsatisfied. More of the apology tour, which we have heard before.” Democratic Sen. Jon Tester said, “You’re making about $40 billion a year on the data, I’m not making any money on it. It feels like you own the data.”

Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin grilled him, saying, “Mr. Zuckerberg, would you be comfortable sharing with us the name of the hotel you stayed in last night?” Zuckerberg hesitantly said no. Senator Durbin continued, “I think that maybe this is what this is all about. Your right to privacy. The limits of your right to privacy.”

At the hearing, the senators proved that it was better to ask questions to find the truth than yell and promote themselves. Zuckerberg said that Facebook would accept appropriate additional regulations from Congress. CNN analyzed that the tech illiteracy of some of the senators saved Zuckerberg, as some asked uninformed questions. But I was envious that the lawmakers sincerely asked questions and took notes instead of yelling at the businessman.

JoongAng Ilbo, April 12, Page 29
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