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Mr. Zuckerberg goes to Washington

PHOTO BY PAUL K. SCHWARTZI recently had the opportunity to attend the Senate's combined hearing by its Judiciary and Commerce Committees, during which Facebook owner and creator Mark Zuckerberg fielded some five hours of questions.
Clearly the concern of the some 42 senators was user privacy and the protection of personal information in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal in which the personal information of some 87 million Facebook users was improperly taken and used for unauthorized political purposes during the 2016 presidential election.
While a comparison was made by some Republican senators to the voter targeting done during the Obama presidential campaigns, the difference here is the deliberate flood of misinformation done by Cambridge Analytica during the 2016 Trump campaign.
Certainly user privacy and the protection of personal data are a concern of major proportions. Facebook is an enormously large company with over $40 billion in annual income, more than 25,000 employees and more than 2 billion monthly active users.
However, as I listened to the testimony I couldn't help but think that the true overarching issue is more than privacy; it is responsibility. What is the responsibility of platform providers to manage the content of those platforms?

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A storm of bullets

20171206 095558Have you ever been caught unexpectedly in a downpour without your umbrella? Of course you have. We all have.
Now imagine that you are attending an open air concert and the skies open up but instead of being drenched with rain you are caught in a hailstorm of bullets coming from above. That is what happened several weeks ago at a concert in Las Vegas to hundreds of concert goers resulting in the slaughter of 58 innocent music lovers and the wounding of another 500.
Add to this catastrophe the slaughter of some 26 innocent church goers in Sutherland Springs, Texas during Sunday morning services as the walls of their church were riddled with bullets and you have the beginning of a long-awaited dialogue in Congress to finally do something to stem the tide of unfettered gun violence in this country.
On December 6th the Senate Judiciary Committee conducted a hearing to discuss the merits of two gun safety bills.

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