Zoomed photo shows Zuckerberg's secret notes for congressional hearing 3 years ago

Zoomed photo shows Zuckerberg's secret notes for congressional hearing

Blame Apple

Facebook king Mark Zuckerberg appeared before American politicians Wednesday. Senators interrogated him over Facebook's role in the Cambridge Analytica scandal, which saw 87 million users' data privacy breached, as well as the extent of alleged Russian interference in the country's 2016 presidential election.


It was a polished performance by the Zuck. Facebook's share prices were up 5 per cent by the first break in proceedings (thereby adding a cool $3bn to his personal wealth) and the CEO went home unscathed.

Relentless media preparation and a unique weight of responsibility delivered. However, the internal mechanics of his rigorous planning and practice were exposed when a reporter papped Zuckerberg's talking points.

This page was photographed and, if you zoom in, you can read the notes loud and clear.

The notes provide specific question/answer responses as well as explicit instruction on what not to say.


There are also five whole bullet points allocated to Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple, which include the zinging "Lot's of stories about apps misusing Apple data, never seen Apple notify people - important you hold people to the same standard."


The notes

Cambridge Analytica

  • Breach of trust; sorry we let it happen; took steps in 2014 to stop it happening again.
  • Quiz app designed by Cambridge University researcher named Aleksandr Kogan.
  • People who used app gave Kogan FB information like public profile, page likes, friend list + birthday; same for friends' whose settings allowed sharing. NO credit card/SSN info.
  • Kogan sold to CA in violation of our terms; when we found out, told them to delete data.
  • Confirmed they had - now seems untrue. Should have done more to audit + tell people.


  • Important issue, but no credit card information or SSN shared.
  • People Kogan access to Facebook information like their public profile, page likes, friend list + birthday; same for friends' whose settings allowed sharing.
  • 2014 changes mean it couldn't happen now, restricted apps' access to data even further.

Reverse lookup (scraping)

  • Found out about abuse two weeks ago, shut it down
  • Useful to find someone by phone number/email; if people have the same number.
  • Malicious actors linked public info (name, profile photo, gender, user ID) to phone numbers they already had; shut it down. Need to do more to prevent abuse.


  • Fire people for CA?: It's about we designed the platform. That was my responsibility. Not going to throw people under the bus.
  • Do you ever fire anyone?: Yes, hold people accountable all the time; not going to go into specifics.
  • Resign?: Founded Facebook. My decisions. I made mistakes. Big challenge, but we've solved problems before, going to solve this one. Already taking action.
  • No accountability for MZ?: Accountable to you, to employees, to people who use FB.

Data Safety

  • I use FB every day, so does my family, invest a lot in security.
  • Made mistakes, working hard to fix them.
  • Giving people more controls; just yesterday started showing people their app controls.

Business model (ads)

  • Want FB to a service everyone can use, has to be free, can only do that with ads.
  • Key for me is mission - helping people connect. Business model supports that mission.
  • Let's be clear [obscured] Facebook doesn't sell data. You own your information. We give you controls. People know [obscured] need ads; tell us if they have to see ads, want them to be relevant.

Defend Facebook

  • [If attacked: Respectfully, I reject that. Not who we are]
  • Billions people globally use FB every day to connect to the people that matter.
  • Families reconnected, people met and gotten married, movements organised, tens of millions of SMBs now have better tools to grow and create jobs.
  • More work to do, but can't lose sight of all the ways people are using FB for good

Tim Cook on biz model

  • Bezos: "Companies that work hard to charge you more and companies that work hard to charge you less."
  • At FB, we try to charge you less. In fact, we're free.
  • [On data, we're similar. When you install an app on your iPhone, you give it access to some information, just like when you login with FB.
  • Lot's of stories about apps misusing Apple data, never seen Apple notify people.
  • Important you hold everyone to the same standard.]

Disturbing content

  • It's very disturbing; and sadly we do see bad things on Facebook.
  • Should have no place on our service; community standards prohibit hate, bullying, terror.
  • Working to be more proactive; AI, hiring more people e.g. terror, e.g. suicide.
  • Will never be perfect, but making huge investments.

Election integrity (Russia)

  • To slow, making progress. France, Germany, Alabama.
  • Midterms are important, but not just in the US - Brazil, Mexico, Hungary.
  • Just announced committee of academics to commission independent research on social media on democracy.


  • Silicon Valley has a problem, and Facebook is a part of that problem.
  • personally care about making progress; long way to go [3% African American, 5% Hispanics].


  • Consumer choice: consumers have lots of choice over how they spend their time
  • Small part of ad market: advertisers have choices too - $650 billion market, we have 6%.
  • Break up FB?: US tech companies key asset for America; break up strengthens Chinese companies.

GDPR (Don't say we already do what GDPR requires)

  • People deserve good privacy tools and controls wherever they live.
  • We build everything to be transparent and give people control. GDPR does a few things:
    •  Provides control over data use - what we've done for a few years
    • Requires consent - done a little bit, now doing more in Europe and around the world.
    • Get special consent for specific things e.g. facial recognition
  • Support privacy legislation that is practical, puts people in control and allows for innovation.