×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Facebook Shares Climb as Mark Zuckerberg Testifies at Senate Hearing

Investors drove up Facebook’s stock price 5% after CEO Mark Zuckerberg proffered apologies to a Senate committee about the social giant’s errors in the Cambridge Analytica data-privacy scandal.

Shares started to spike at 2:52 p.m. ET, as Zuckerberg was delivering his opening remarks to the committee. As of 3:20 p.m. ET, while he was still testifying, Facebook shares were up 4.8%, to $165.52 per share. [UPDATE: Facebook stock closed up 4.5% for the day, to $165.04 per share — a nearly three-week high — with most of the gains coming after the Senate hearing started.]

“We didn’t take a broad enough view of our responsibility, and that was a big mistake. It was my mistake, and I’m sorry,” Zuckerberg told the senators in his prepared remarks.

What seems to have reassured Wall Street: No real bombshells came out at the Senate hearing at what amounted to political theater. Zuckerberg also countered senators’ questions about whether Facebook should be subjected to tougher new regulations by reiterating that he thinks the discussion should be about “the right regulations.”

After more than a week of prep training, Zuckerberg was succinct and apologetic, and he expressed willingness to follow up to provide additional information. He also acknowledged later, “In retrospect I think we view it as a mistake that we didn’t inform people” when the company learned in 2015 that Cambridge Analytica had improperly obtained the data. In the weeks since the Cambridge Analytica disclosures came out, Zuckerberg — after initially sitting on the sidelines — has apologized and discussed what Facebook is trying to do rectify the situation.

Broader markets were already buoyed Tuesday after fears ebbed of a U.S. trade war with China were mitigated by comments from Chinese president Xi Jinping earlier calling for “dialogue” between the two countries rather than “confrontation.”

During Tuesday afternoon’s hearing, the senators asked the CEO about a range of topics. Those included its handling of the Cambridge Analytica situation, in which data on up to 87 million users was sold by a third-party researcher to the U.K. political consulting firm; its policies about user privacy; hate speech; and how Facebook is trying to address foreign actors trying to influence elections. A few members of the committee, including Sen. Bill Nelson (D.-Fla.), warned Zuckerberg that Congress may step in to pass new laws governing Facebook’s ability to collect user data but stopped short of explicitly threatening to do that.

At one point, asked by Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) whether Facebook will remain free in perpetuity, Zuckerberg responded, “there will always be a version of Facebook that will be free.” The remark set off speculation that Facebook may be thinking of rolling out an ad-free subscription plan at some point.

The joint hearing before the Senate Judiciary and Senate Commerce Committees was scheduled to start at 2:15 p.m. ET, but kicked off around 2:30.

More Digital

  • Nick Eh 30, StoneMountain64

    CAA Signs Gaming Influencers Nick Eh 30, StoneMountain64

    CAA has signed two popular live-streaming battle royale gamers — Nicholas Amyoony, better known as Nick Eh 30, and David Steinberg, aka StoneMountain64 — for representation. CAA said it will work to create opportunities for Nick Eh 30 (above left) and StoneMountain64 (above right) in all areas, including TV, motion pictures, touring, digital distribution and [...]

  • Amazon Adds NBA League Pass to

    Amazon Adds NBA League Pass Live-Streaming Games to Prime Video Channels

    Amazon is bringing pro hoops action to Prime Video Channels: The ecommerce giant now offers NBA League Pass as part of its lineup of 150-plus subscription options for Prime members in the U.S. It’s the first U.S. live-sports subscription service on Prime Video Channels. Prime members can subscribe to NBA League Pass via Prime Video [...]

  • Fifty Shades of Grey

    International Piracy Ring Stole Over 25,000 Movie and TV Digital Files, U.S. Feds Say

    A five-member international hacking crime ring stole more than 25,000 files for Hollywood movies and TV shows and illegally offered hundreds of them for sale online, according to U.S. law enforcement officials. A federal grand jury in L.A. on Wednesday (Dec. 12) indicted five men, identified as residing in the U.K., India, Dubai and Malaysia, [...]

  • Phil Schiller, Apple's senior vice president

    Apple to Update iPhones in China to Avoid Sales Ban

    Apple is pushing out a software update to iPhones in China to address a recent court order obtained by Qualcomm that banned the sale of certain iPhone models in the country. The update will allow the company to continue selling its phones in China, company representatives told Reuters Friday morning. The Fuzhou Intermediate People’s Court [...]

  • Kevin Reilly Variety Cover

    Kevin Reilly Named Content Chief for WarnerMedia Streaming Service

    Kevin Reilly — a veteran television exec who has led programming at NBC, FX, Fox, and most recently Turner Broadcasting — has been tapped to head content strategy for the still-nascent streaming service that WarnerMedia plans to launch next year. Reilly, who has led programming at Turner brands TNT and TBS since 2015, will serve [...]

  • Apple Culver City

    Apple Expects to Have Over 1,000 Employees in Culver City by 2022

    Apple announced plans to boost its L.A. presence, saying it expects to have more than 1,000 employees in Culver City, Calif., over the next three years, including its growing entertainment team. The move is part of the tech giant’s broader initiative to create 20,000 jobs in the U.S. by 2023 and includes a new $1 [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content