Mark Zuckerberg Won’t Share Private Data When Senator Asks ‘Where Did You Stay Last Night?’

Facebook chief exec didn’t want to reveal too much personal info during Senate hearing

Congress Mark Zuckerberg
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Sen. Dick Durbin wants to know where Mark Zuckerberg slept last night — but the Facebook chief executive didn’t want to share that kind of personal data.

“Mr. Zuckerberg, would you be comfortable sharing with us the name of the hotel you stayed in last night?” asked Sen. Durbin on Tuesday afternoon.

“Ummm… uh, no.” said a hesitant Zuckerberg, drawing laughter from the audience.

“If you messaged anybody this week, would you share with us the names of the people you’ve messaged?” continued Sen. Durbin.

“Senator, no I would probably not choose to do that publicly here,” added Zuckerberg.

The memorable exchange came during the second hour of Zuckerberg’s testimony in Washington, D.C., with Congress focused on the Cambridge Analytica data leak — where 87 million users had their profile information accessed without their knowledge. Durbin’s roundabout question aimed at the crux of the matter — how to protect personal information once it’s online.

“I think that maybe what this is all about. Your right to privacy. The limits of your right to privacy,” said Sen. Durbin. “And how much you give away in modern America, in the name of, quote, connecting people around the world.”

Zuckerberg said Facebook had asked Cambridge Analytica to delete its data in 2015, when it first became aware of the leak. He said the firm is now complying with a full audit of its records, after it was reported last month Cambridge Analytica still had access to its harvested data. Zuckerberg stressed Facebook doesn’t “sell” the data of its users, but rather directs advertisers towards users best aligned with their products.