Amid the Covid-19 pandemic news, the US Presidential elections, and its ongoing aftermath, many may have missed a US Senate hearing where the CEOs of Twitter and Facebook, were asked a series of very important questions on the practices of their companies.
One of the most interesting exchanges was when Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) confronted Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg over a tracking program known as “Centra,” which Hawley said had been revealed to his office a company whistleblower, but Zuckerberg denied knowing whether the program existed.
The program reportedly tracks not only Facebook users on the platform itself, but also all their other online activities outside the platform, recording their habits, the pages they visit, and even their e-mails.
It sounds scary, but it could well be all true.
“Mr. Zuckerberg, tell me about ‘Centra,” Hawley asked Zuckerberg during a Monday hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee. “What is the Facebook internal tool called Centra?”
Zuckerberg replied, “Senator, I’m not aware of any tool with that name.”
Hawley responded by displaying photographs that he said showed the tool in use.
“Let me see if this refreshes your memory. There is a demonstrative over my shoulder,” Hawley noted. “Centra is a tool that Facebook uses to track its users not just on Facebook, but across the entire internet. Centra tracks different profiles that a user visits, their message recipients, their linked accounts, the pages they visit around the Web that have Facebook buttons. Sentra also uses behavioral data to monitor users’ accounts, even if those accounts are registered under a different name.”
Hawley said the program allowed Facebook to retain certain sensitive personal information, including which accounts users had visited and the photos they had uploaded.
The company has received unwanted attention on numerous occasions over the last several years for going to unusual lengths to track not only its users, but associates of its users who do not use the website. One recent example included the 2018 revelation that Facebook “marks” photos its users upload in order to continue tracking them outside the platform.
video credit Fox News YouTube channel