Durbin gives Zuckerberg pause: Grills him on privacy at Facebook hearing

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg | AP Photo

WASHINGTON — Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg hesitated after Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., asked him about his own privacy at a much anticipated Senate hearing on Tuesday.

“Mr. Zuckerberg, would you be comfortable sharing with us the name of the hotel you stayed in last night?” Durbin asked at the joint session of the Senate Judiciary and Commerce Committees.

Zuckerberg did not answer right away.

After the awkward pause, Zuckerberg said, “Uh … no.”

The hearing room erupted in laughter and Zuckerberg himself smiled as if he, too, realized how Durbin just nailed him.

He had come to this hearing prepared. But Durbin’s consumer-friendly approach to getting to one of the hearts of the controversies around Facebook and privacy seemed to throw Zuckerberg off a bit.

Durbin, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee continued, “If you have messaged anybody this week, would you share with us the names of the people you’ve messaged?

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

Said Durbin, “I think that might be what this is all about, your right to privacy, the limits of your right to privacy and how much you give away in modern America in the name of quote connecting people around the world.

“The question, basically of what information Facebook’s collecting, who they are sending it to and whether they asked me in advance permission to do. Is that a fair thing for a user of Facebook to expect?”

Said Zuckerberg: “Yes, senator, I think everyone should have control over how their information is used.”

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