WATCH: Sen. Hawley Claims Facebook Program Called ‘Centra’ is Tracking Users Across the Web, Zuckerberg Denies Knowledge
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.
“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.
However, Hawley suggested the program may go even further than reports have revealed, and suggested the program may be used to take enforcement measures. He followed up with another question for Zuckerberg, asking, “How many accounts in the United States have been subject to review and shut down through Centra?”
Zuckerberg denied having knowledge of the program, but refused to deny that it existed.
“I do not know because I’m not actually familiar with the name of that too,” Zuckerberg said. “I’m sure we have tools that help us with our platform and community integrity work, but I am not familiar with that name.”
Hawley pressed Zuckerberg for further details. “Do you have a tool that does exactly what I have described that you can see here over my shoulder? Or are you saying that that doesn’t exist?”
A @Facebook whistleblower tells me it’s called Centra. Example below. Zuck said he couldn’t recall the name … he’s only the company CEO, after all pic.twitter.com/DLkQ46MiR4
— Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) November 17, 2020
Zuckerberg denied having the knowledge of the program a third time, but said he was “limited” in what he could share on the spot.
“I’m saying that I’m not familiar with it,” Zuckerberg responded. “And that I would be happy to follow up and get you and your team the information that you would is unlike on this. But I am limited in what I can — what I am familiar with, and can share today.”
Watch above via Fox News.
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