Collecting data of non-users protects the privacy of people using Facebook, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said Tuesday during his Q&A session with the European Parliament. When questioned about the company's "shadow profiles" which are created with information gathered on people who aren't registered users but have either visited Facebook or one of its partner websites — which are all pages that have any Facebook element embedded into them, including Like buttons — Mr. Zuckerberg said the firm is doing so for the purposes of "security."
The 34-year-old hasn't directly addressed the question of whether he can guarantee Facebook isn't using that security data for other purposes such as advertising, in addition to not answering whether the company will allow non-users to delete data from their shadow profiles. His response on the matter was similar to that given to members of two U.S. congressional panels last month when the multi-billionaire said he wasn't even familiar with the term "shadow profiles" and avoided addressing privacy concerns stemming from such practices. "It's very important to us that non-Facebook users aren't accessing Facebook and scrapping people's data," Mr. Zuckerbeg said Tuesday, adding that the company's platform audit that already saw over 200 third-party apps suspended over possible privacy violations is expected to take "many more months" and will span "thousands" of additional services.
The Q&A session as a whole had a rigid format which saw lawmakers ask back-to-back questions for over an hour until Mr. Zuckerberg started addressing them by "broader themes," as per his own words. European Parliament members criticized Facebook's chief over his general evasiveness, with Mr. Zuckerberg not reflecting on the vast majority of concrete questions concerning Facebook's privacy practices directly. The 90-minute session saw the founder of the Menlo Park, California-based company state the tech giant will employ 3,000 more Europeans by the end of the year, continue paying taxes, and do a better job at protecting the privacy of its users in the future by relying on more human curators and advanced artificial intelligence tools.