Mark Zuckerberg Admits Collecting Data On People Who Never Even Signed Up For Facebook

Mark Zuckerberg endured a greater intensity of grilling from House representatives during his second day of data-privacy testimony than during his introductory hours, even if one lawmaker got his name wrong and another (weirdly) asked about Facemash. Yet things got really real when Rep. Kathy Castor (D-FL) confronted the billionaire, which ended in Zuckerberg admitting that he collects data on people who’ve never opened a Facebook account. Here’s how that went down:

Castor: “You are collecting personal information on people who do not even have Facebook accounts, isn’t that right?”

Zuckerberg: “Congresswoman … I don’t think that that’s what we’re tracking.”

Castor: “You have already acknowledged that you are doing that for security purposes and commercial purposes. You’re collecting data outside of Facebook. When someone goes to a website and hits ‘like’ or ‘share,’ that data is being collected by Facebook, right? Correct? Yes or no.”

Zuckerberg: “That’s right…”

When questioned by Rep. Ben Lujan of New Mexico, Zuckerberg admitted that Facebook creates profiles on non-Facebook users, accounts that are sometimes referred to as “shadow profiles.” As Slate points out, “this was important for a number of reasons—chief among them because across two days of testimony to Senate and House committees, Zuckerberg repeatedly hammered on the point that Facebook doesn’t own user data and that users have control over how their data is shared on Facebook.”

All told, around 100 representatives have taken turns with the Zuck, who pointed out that his own data was also included in the data breach that allowed Cambridge Analytica to harvest data from 87 million users. Yet folks who steered clear of opening a Facebook account (preemptively or for other reasons) also may have reason to worry about their privacy in this context, which doesn’t bode well. One class action suit is already on the books against both Cambridge Analytica and Facebook, and there may very well be another one after folks get wind of Castor’s questioning.

(Via CBS News)