Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg has revealed that the social media platform collects data of internet users who have never signed up for the company’s services.
The admission came during his second and final day of testimony before US Congress, during which he said Facebook collected the data of non-users for “security reasons”.
In response to a question from congresswoman Anna Eshoo, Zuckerberg also revealed that his own data had been handed over to political consultancy Cambridge Analytica.
Zuckerberg also “declined to give a commitment to change all users’ default privacy settings” in order to minimise the amount of personal data being harvested by the company, the BBC reports.
Congressman David McKinley surprised the Facebook chief by showing him an image of advertisements for illegal drugs that he said had been available on the platform as recently as Tuesday.
“Facebook is actually enabling an illegal activity and in so doing you are hurting people,” McKinley said.
CNN says a number of lawmakers questioned whether Facebook’s data policy with third-party apps “violated a 2011 agreement with the Federal Trade Commission after a prior privacy complaint”.
Zuckerberg’s appearance before the senate committees comes at a time of turmoil for the social media giant.
According to The Guardian, an apparent “loss of trust” in Facebook has prompted the EU commissioner for consumers and justice, Vera Jourova, to re-examine the voluntary code of conduct on the removal of hate speech, and potentially replace it with “legislation and heavy sanctions”.
Jourova is set to meet with Facebook’s chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg, later this week to discuss the Cambridge Analytica scandal and the company’s evolving response to the crisis.