As Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg heads to Congress, one prominent tech reporter has some advice for Capitol Hill and the reporters who cover it: Take off the kid gloves when dealing with the Silicon Valley executive.
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“He’s one of the richest people on earth. He’s an adult. He’s 30-some years old,” Kara Swisher, co-founder of Recode, said on the latest episode of the Women Rule podcast. “He can answer questions if he’s the CEO. He founded this company. Stop juvenilizing men here in Silicon Valley.”
When it comes to reporting on Facebook’s continuing controversies over data sharing, Swisher blasted some journalists for being “extraordinarily shy to do their job.”
“They sort of go around, ‘Well, Mark, tell me about — there’s been some issues around privacy,’” she said. “We’ve got to stop acting like these people are papier-mache.”
Instead, the longtime Silicon Valley journalist proposed this direct line of questioning: “What the hell happened with Cambridge Analytica? Please tell us in detail and in triplicate.”
Swisher’s comments come just as Zuckerberg takes center stage on Capitol Hill, appearing before the Senate Judiciary and Commerce on Tuesday and facing the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Wednesday. The 33-year-old tech executive will have to tackle a host of issues in front of Congress: from Russian propaganda on Facebook and its role in the 2016 election, to how much it shared users’ personal information with companies like British data firm Cambridge Analytica, which was linked to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.
With lawmakers gearing up to question Zuckerberg, Swisher noted that Washington also bears some responsibility for the scandals.
“Why weren’t they looking at Facebook a while ago? Why now?” Swisher asked. She panned Congress for being “ignorant” about how to regulate technology, adding that “they’re just not interested” in the industry.
“They don’t understand it, they don’t understand the implications, they don’t understand all the issues around privacy,” she said.
Swisher, who has covered tech news since the industry’s early days in the San Francisco Bay area, also saved some criticism for Facebook itself, knocking the social media giant for having “slow-rolled” the extent of its problems.
“They tend to [say], like, ‘We’re taking care of it. Just don’t worry about it. Don’t worry about it. Don’t worry about it, people,’” Swisher said. “Well, now they’re going to have to tell us what they did, and what they didn’t do.”
On the podcast, Swisher revealed that she had spoken with top executives at Facebook about Russian interference on the platform for 18 months.
“I got a lot of pushback initially,” she said of Facebook’s response. “I kept calling them and saying, ‘This is serious.’ This was a year ago, a year and a half ago. This is serious; you’d better start paying attention to this Russia stuff. Your reputation —this stuff, you’ve got to start really addressing it.”
via Politico https://politi.co/2lnbIsw
April 10, 2018 at 02:29AM