Tester Defends Montanans’ Privacy, Holds Facebook Accountable for Breach of Trust

Senator: Who We Share Our Likes and Dislikes With is a Question of Personal Freedom

(U.S. Senate)—U.S. Senator Jon Tester is relentlessly defending Montanans’ right to privacy and fighting to hold Facebook accountable for allowing foreign actors to steal private information from tens of millions of Americans.

Following recent reports that up to 87 million American Facebook users had their personal information shared without their consent, Tester questioned Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg today during a Senate oversight hearing and pushed him to outline the specific steps the company is taking to prevent another breach of privacy.

“Facebook is an American company and with that, I believe you have a responsibility to protect our American liberties – central to that is our privacy,” Tester told Zuckerberg. “Who and how we choose to share our personal information with is a question of personal freedom. Who we share our likes and dislikes with is a question of personal freedom. This troubling episode completely shatters that liberty.”

It was recently reported that the personal information of up to 87 million Facebook users was improperly shared with Cambridge Analytica, a British political consulting firm. That personal information was used to target political advertising.

Tester expressed his concerns that Montanans’ private information was still at risk and he grilled Zuckerberg on his ability to audit foreign countries that have attained and misused personal information that originated through Facebook.

During the hearing, Zuckerberg endorsed Tester’s Honest Ads Act, which will require disclaimers for online political ads identifying the source of funding. These disclaimers are currently required on television and newspaper ads, but not on social media platforms.