Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI) on What Facebook Regulation May Look Like

April 11, 2018

Mark Zuckerberg’s two marathon days of Congressional hearings, at the very least, may have shifted the conversation around regulation from a possibility to an inevitability.

While the Facebook CEO kicked off his House committee hearing Wednesday with the same opening statement he gave the Senate a day earlier, there were some revelations.

Zuckerberg admitted his own data was exposed to Cambridge Analytica and that Facebook does collect information on people who aren’t even Facebook users.

At the start of the week, there were still a lot of questions over whether regulation would actually happen. But after the two hearings, the tone shifted to what that regulation should look like.

Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI), who sits on the House committee that questioned Zuckerberg Wednesday, spoke to Cheddar before the hearing. She said the Honest Ads Act, which is meant to make online political ads more transparent and was brought up repeatedly at the hearings, “is just the beginning.” She pointed to European privacy laws as potential models legislators could follow.

“Yes, cultures are different,” she acknowledged, “but there are some very basic things there that I think we need to be looking at in the United States as well.”

Recent legislation in Europe, which goes into effect later this year, will force companies across industries to reveal what data they are collecting on customers and how they use it, as well as to notify users when their information has been breached. Policies to counter hate speech in the EU require companies to remove instances within a 24-hour time frame.

That particular point, though, could run up against the First Amendment in the U.S., according to The New Yorker’s contributing editor Andrew Marantz.

The onus now lies on lawmakers to take what they may or may not have learned from Zuckerberg’s hearings and draw up appropriate regulations.

“The fact that we’re talking about this at all is a big shift,” said Marantz. “It does seem like we’re much closer to this kind of regulation being passed than we ever have been before.”

For full interview, click here.