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Zuckerberg hearing: Facebook founder attacked by US politicians for site's 'bias' and failure to protect users - as it happened

Mark Zuckerberg says his personal data was sold to 'malicious third parties'

After navigating nearly five hours of questions from 44 US senators on Tuesday about the abuse of citizen's data, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has done it all again on Wednesday.

Once again, he was attacked on a range of fronts: as well as the company's failure to protect its users data, politicians questioned the site's perceived bias against conservative voices, and its use for selling illegal materials like drugs.

The billionaire Facebook boss will testified before the House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce, which was seeking answers following revelations that Cambridge Analytica harvested personal information from 87 million Facebook profiles for the purpose of voter profiling.

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Congress has already released Mr Zuckerberg's prepared testimony for Wednesday's hearing. 

The seven-page statement includes a run down of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, which the Facebook founder accepts full responsibility for. 

It also includes the measures Facebook plans to take to address the issue, which will "significantly impact profits."

Read more about Mr Zuckerberg's testimony here.

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Mr Zuckerberg did his best impression of a politician on Tuesday, skirting around questions while avoiding being drawn into any debate that could cause any significant damage to Facebook. 

But while some questions went unanswered, many went unasked.

"Frustratingly, there was no discussion about data democracy: how to elevate the debate, and how the public can overcome the fake news, trolls, and bots that haunt us all in our online lives," Tim Wilson, CEO of social media platform Qutee tells The Independent.

"I'd really like to see Zuckerberg and his peers at the other social media giants called to account on whether social data/ opinion is simply there to empower ad targeting or should be used for the wider benefit of society."

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  ↵The Facebook founder also made the bold claim yesterday that the social network - which has more than 2.2 billion users worldwide - is not a monopoly.

"You don't think you have a monopoly?" a Senator asked.

"It certainly doesn't feel like that to me," Mr Zuckerberg replied.

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With half an hour to go before Mr Zuckerberg is due to testify, here's a reminder of what we can expect him to say in his opening remarks. 

The Facebook founder will begin by talking about how his company is "idealistic and optimistic," originally designed to connect people and allow them to have their voices heard. He will then explain how the reality does not always live up to the vision.

"It’s clear now that we didn’t do enough to prevent these tools from being used for harm as well. That goes for fake news, foreign interference in elections, and hate speech, as well as developers and data privacy," Zuckerberg's pre-released testimony states. 

"We didn’t take a broad enough view of our responsibility, and that was a big mistake. It was my mistake, and I’m sorry. I started Facebook, I run it, and I’m responsible for what happens here."

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Mr Zuckerberg referenced these idealistic roots several times during Tuesday's hearing, reminding the senators that before Facebook was an all-encompassing corporate juggernaut, it was once just a startup he ran from his college dorm room.

Here's comedian Zack Bornstein's take on those humble beginnings:

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No delays for today's proceedings, as the chairman of the House of Commerce Greg Walden introduces the hearing and flatters the subject by calling him one of the greatest entrepreneurs of our age.

He asks Mr Zuckerberg to "widen our lens to the fundamental relationship tech companies have with their users," and invites him to deliver his opening remarks.

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Mr Zuckerberg has once again ditched his usual attire of jeans and a t-shirt for a suit and tie. 

Some eagle-eyed viewers yesterday also spotted the Facebook boss is making use of a booster seat. 

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Before we hear from Mr Zuckerberg, we have five minutes of opening remarks from Frank Pallone, ranking member of the Energy and Commerce Committee. 

Facebook is just the latest company that "vacuums up our data but fails to keep it safe," says Mr Pallone. 

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Mr Zuckerberg begins his testimony:

Chairman Walden, Ranking Member Pallone, and Members of the Committee, We face a number of important issues around privacy, safety, and democracy, and you will rightfully have some hard questions for me to answer. Before I talk about the steps we’re taking to address them, I want to talk about how we got here.

Facebook is an idealistic and optimistic company. For most of our existence, we focused on all the good that connecting people can bring. As Facebook has grown, people everywhere have gotten a powerful new tool to stay connected to the people they love, make their voices heard, and build communities and businesses. Just recently, we’ve seen the #metoo movement and the March for Our Lives, organized, at least in part, on Facebook. After Hurricane Harvey, people raised more than $20 million for relief. And more than 70 million small businesses now use Facebook to grow and create jobs.

But it’s clear now that we didn’t do enough to prevent these tools from being used for harm as well. That goes for fake news, foreign interference in elections, and hate speech, as well as developers and data privacy. We didn’t take a broad enough view of our responsibility, and that was a big mistake. It was my mistake, and I’m sorry. I started Facebook, I run it, and I’m responsible for what happens here.

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