Will the real Mark Zuckerberg please stand up?
Hours before Zuckerberg was set to testify to Congress, members of activist network Avaaz set up 100 cardboard clones of the Facebook CEO outside the US Capitol, just a block away from where Zuck would spend more than five hours answering lawmakers' questions. All the fake Zuckerbergs wore T-shirts reading "Fix Fakebook," a message meant to call out the "hundreds of millions of fake accounts still spreading disinformation on Facebook," the group said in a statement.
Avaaz said it wants Zuckerberg to ban all bots on Facebook, as well as alert the public any time users see disinformation on the social network. Facebook didn't respond to a request for comment.
Zuckerberg's testimony oncomes as Facebook weathers the biggest crisis in its 14-year history. Data from 87 million Facebook accounts was allegedly used by Cambridge Analytica, a political consultancy that reportedly used it to craft campaign messages. In , Zuckerberg outlined what Facebook is doing to prevent data abuse and election interference in the future.
A few yards from the cutouts, a group of 15 protesters, some dressed in costumes like bunnies and Spider-Man, chanted, "Zuckerberg, you're absurd," with signs writing "#OurPrivacyMatters."
Daniel Taylor, the protest organizer, said Facebook had issues with transparency. He also complained that Facebook didn't notify users about the Cambridge Analytica issue quickly enough.
"They knew for three years," Taylor said. "They had to get caught. Honestly, I'm not sure they could gain back our trust."
Another group of protesters from "Code Pink" were promptly kicked out before the hearing kicked off. The group wore large sunglasses with "Stop Spying" written on them. They also held a sign reading, "Like us on Facebook" up as they were being removed.
First published April 10, 9:21 a.m. PT.
Update, 4:14 p.m.: Adds details from other protests on Capitol Hill related to Zuckerberg's hearing.
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