Stretchmay have not been completely
truthful while under oath when taking questions in front of the
Senate Judiciary Committee on October 31, 2017.
was being grilled by SenatorJohn
Kennedy(R-LA) about the extent of
Facebook’s ability to profile users on the social media
website. Stretch told Kennedy that Facebook had done away with the
ability of employees to compile or access profiles on individual
users. Here’s a transcript of their relevant remarks:
Kennedy: Do you have a profile on me?
Senator, if you’re a Facebook user, we would permit you to be
targeted with an advertisement based on your characteristics and
your likes along with other people who share similar
characteristics and your likes along with other people who
Kennedy: Well, let’s do another one. Let’s suppose your
CEO came to you, or not you, somebody who could do it in your
company, maybe you could, and said, “I want to know everything
we can know about Senator Graham. I want to know the movies he
likes. I want to know the bars he goes to. I want to know who
his friends are. I want to know what schools he went to.” You
could do that, couldn’t you?
So, I want to be—it is a very good question—the answer is
absolutely not. We have limitations in place on our ability to
review the person’s—
Kennedy: I’m not asking about your rules. I’m saying,
you have the ability to do that, don’t you?
Again, Senator, the answer is no. We’re not able—
Kennedy: You can’t put a name to a face to a
piece of data? You’re telling me that?
we have designed our systems to prevent exactly that, to protect
the privacy of our users.
Kennedy: I understand, but you can get around
that to find that identity, can’t you?
small group of Facebook Inc. employees have permission to access
users’ profiles without the users finding out.
any time a Facebook employee accesses a colleague’s personal
profile, the colleague is notified through what is often
referred to within the company as a Sauron alert—a reference to
the all-seeing eye in the The Lord of the Rings trilogy, people
familiar with the matter say.
protections don’t exist for the two billion-plus Facebook users
who don’t work for the company, the people said.
out to Facebook for comment on this story. This space will be
updated if and when a response is received.