Here are all the questions Mark Zuckerberg couldn't answer during this week's Congressional hearings

Here are all the questions Mark Zuckerberg couldn't answer during this week's Congressional hearings

facebook zuckerberg trial AP 41 Zuck under photogs

Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

  • Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg sat through five hours of testimony in a joint session with the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation on Tuesday, and will sit in front of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce on Wednesday.
  • Zuckerberg is addressing questions about Facebook's involvement in various scandals involving Facebook users, and how those issues can be addressed moving forward.
  • Zuckerberg's team has been preparing him for the testimonies for weeks, but a number of the questions required responses that he was unable to provide on the spot.

On Tuesday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg answered questions from 44 senators in a hearing that went for nearly five hours. On Wednesday, he will answer even more questions, from 55 House Representatives, about the role Facebook played in various scandals involving the improper care of Facebook users' data and how those issues can be addressed moving forward.


Zuckerberg had reportedly been training for weeks to face the three committees in two Congressional hearings this week, but his talking points didn't prepare him to answer every question that came his way. Some questions required specific figures or precise explanations that he wasn't able to provide on the spot.

Even when prodded, Zuckerberg was careful not to ensure a response in case his team was unable to follow through, addressing questions he was unsure of with some variation of "if you'd like I can have my team follow up with you after this."

Here are the answers Zuckerberg's team will need to come back to senators with:


  • A list of applications that Facebook has previously banned because data was transferred in violation of Facebook's terms. Senator Grassley
  • The number of audits Facebook has conducted to ensure deletion of improperly transferred data, or "anything about the specific past stats that would be interesting." Senator Grassley
  • The number of accounts pegged back to pro-Kremlin propaganda company Internet Research Agency (IRA) that Facebook has taken down. Senator Feinstein
  • Whether any Facebook employees worked with Cambridge Analytica while the data analytics company was working with the Trump campaign. Senator Cantwell
  • Whether the opt-in practice that holds for adults using Facebook Messenger on Android holds true for minors as well (Facebook collects call or text history data for adults using Facebook Messenger on Android if they opt-in to using the application in combination with their messaging). Senator Wicker
  • A detailed explanation of if - and how - Facebook tracks a user's internet browsing activity even after that user has logged off of Facebook's platform. Zuckerberg explained that Facebook uses cookies for security and ad-measuring purposes but wants "to be precise" in his response. Senator Wicker
  • How Facebook discloses to its users the tracking practices that take place after users log off. Senator Wicker
  • A confirmation of whether the specific "unverified divisive [Facebook] pages" that Senator Leahy showed pictures of during the testimony are or are not Russian-created groups. Senator Leahy
  • A breakdown by state of the 87 million profiles affected by the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Senator Klobuchar and Senator Heller (Heller specifically asked for Nevada)
  • Whether there's an overlap of the 126 million users who may have seen content shared by Facebook groups associated with the IRA and those affected by Cambridge Analytica. Zuckerberg said that an investigation has begun and that Facebook believes it's entirely possible there will be a connection there. Senator Klobuchar
  • Whether it's possible that the data that Cambridge Analytica stored could be in Russia. Senator Klobuchar
  • An explanation about how data on devices that are not logged into Facebook is treated. Senator Blunt
  • If and how the bug bounty program will address the impermissible sharing of information and not just the unauthorized access to it. Senator Moran
  • Why Facebook moved for the discrimination lawsuit against it to be dismissed because no harm was shown, when people of color were not recruited for different economic opportunities because of it. Senator Booker
  • How long Facebook keeps users' data after they choose to delete their Facebook or Instagram account and whether it can sit in backup copies. Senator Heller and Senator Gardner
  • A breakdown of the principles that will guide the development of AI practices, the details about what those practices are, and how they'll help users. Senator Peters
  • A list of the firms that Aleksandr Kogan sold the data he collected to, other than Cambridge Analytica. Zuckerberg could identify Eunoia but said there may have been a couple of others. Senator Baldwin
  • More information on how Facebook is accounting for organizations based outside of the US when providing transparency around political ads. Senator Baldwin
  • Whether the government or federal officials are able to track what a person's doing with or without a warrant. Senator Gardner

In addition to statistics and explanations, Zuckerberg assured a few senators that his team would circle back to further conversations about legislation including the Honest Ads Act (Senator Klobuchar), the My Data Act (Senator Blumenthal), and the Consent Act (Senator Markey).

Senator Tillis asked that Zuckerberg go back to "the first known high-profile national campaign that exploited Facebook data" when Facebook is doing its research on Cambridge Analytica, but asked for no follow-up.

Some senators did require a follow-up, however, asking Zuckerberg to do the following:

  • Submit regulation proposals to prevent a monopoly in the industry - presumably the social media industry. Senator Graham
  • Implement a 72-hour rule to notify users of a data breach. Senator Klobuchar
  • Discuss the details of allowing civil rights organizations to audit the companies dealing in areas of credit and housing. Senator Booker
  • Discuss whether there should be financial penalties when large providers (e.g. Facebook) are breached. Senator Hassan
  • Send a Facebook representative to a meeting of chief executives and senior leaders to discuss the sale of illegal drugs online. Senator Capito
  • Discuss creating legislation that unequivocally says that users own their own data, and legislation that makes a "stronger affirmative opt in requirement" for Facebook. Senator Young

The record will be open for 14 days after the hearings, meaning senators will still be able to submit written questions, and probably will since many were cut off. Zuckerberg will be able to make corrections to his testimony during this time, too.