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Zuckerberg: We're in “Arms Race” with Russian Election Meddlers

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has claimed the firm is in an arms race with Russian hackers attempting to influence the outcome of elections.

Speaking at a much-anticipated Capitol Hill grilling by senators, the social network’s founder revealed that the firm had launched an investigation into the scandal.

“One of my greatest regrets in running the company is that we were slow in identifying the Russian information operations in 2016,” he told Congress.

“There are people in Russia whose job it is to try to exploit our systems and other internet systems and other systems as well. This is an ongoing arms race. As long as there are people sitting in Russia whose job is it to try to interfere in elections around the world, this is going to be an ongoing conflict.”

Zuckerberg also revealed that Facebook is helping special counsel Robert Mueller’s team with their investigation in election meddling.

As well as Russian interference in the US election, the session of several US senate committees was assembled to quiz the Facebook boss on the Cambridge Analytica scandal, in which data on 87 million users allegedly ended up in the hands of political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica.

Former director of research at the firm, Christopher Wylie, told a House of Commons committee he believes this information enabled Donald Trump to get elected as well as the Vote Leave EU referendum campaign.

Zuckerberg again apologized for the mistakes which led to the data leak: in its terms of service at the time which allowed developers to collect data on users’ Facebook friends and in trusting that Cambridge Analytica had deleted that data, which enabled it to build a “psychological warfare” tool for the targeting of political advertising.

“When we heard back from Cambridge Analytica that they had told us that they weren’t using the data and deleted it, we considered it a closed case,” he told senators. “In retrospect, that was clearly a mistake. We shouldn’t have taken their word for it. We’ve updated our policy to make sure we don’t make that mistake again.”

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