Facebook's 750-page response to Congress repeats itself 437 times

Social network uses copy and paste to answer lawmakers' questions

More than half of the mammoth 748-page tome that Facebook delivered last Friday in answer to US lawmakers' questions is identical content that it has copied and pasted more than 400 times, IT Pro can reveal.

The document is a follow-up to Zuckerberg's hearing before the US House Energy and Commerce Committee in April, intended to answer some of the committee's questions in more detail. Its 748-page length is somewhat deceptive, however, as more than half of it is made up of ten boilerplate answers that are repeated throughout the document.

In fact, of the document's 370,833 words (which includes the questions from committee itself), Facebook's copied-and-pasted responses account for more than 200,000 of them.

IT Pro identified ten passages that are repeated verbatim, some more than 100 times. These covered Russian election interference, freedom of expression, privacy, data collection and other topics, including 42 instances where Facebook dismissed the question as "not germane to the hearing".

The vast majority of these repeated passages are in response to questions posed by Democratic Palo Alto Congresswoman Anna Eshoo, who raised more than 500 questions and comments to Zuckerberg, as submitted by her constituents.

These included queries such as whether or not the CIA has access to Facebook accounts, to more rhetorical questions, including how he looks at himself in the mirror and how he would explain his conduct to his mother (both of which the company declined to answer).

Facebook's responses to Eshoo's questions, though lengthy, were often vague and frequently failed to actually address the question. Many questions about why it's so difficult to delete a Facebook account, for example, were met only with a boilerplate response on what types of data Facebook collects on people - which contains no information on account deletion.

Elsewhere in the gigantic document, Facebook revealed further details about its controversial data-sharing partnerships with 52 third-party companies, several of which have not yet been shut down. In particular, the company revealed that it had previously partnered with Chinese firms Huawei, Lenovo, Oppo and TCL, companies that US intelligence officials have warned may be linked to China's state surveillance apparatus.

Featured Resources

Managing security risk and compliance in a challenging landscape

How key technology partners grow with your organisation

Download now

Evaluate your order-to-cash process

15 recommended metrics to benchmark your O2C operations

Download now

AI 360: Hold, fold, or double down?

How AI can benefit your business

Download now

Getting started with Azure Red Hat OpenShift

A developer’s guide to improving application building and deployment capabilities

Download now

Recommended

SonicWall hacked via zero-day flaw in remote access tools
Security

SonicWall hacked via zero-day flaw in remote access tools

25 Jan 2021
Best ransomware removal tools
ransomware

Best ransomware removal tools

22 Jan 2021
Hackers publish over 4,000 files stolen from SEPA in ransomware attack
Security

Hackers publish over 4,000 files stolen from SEPA in ransomware attack

22 Jan 2021
Weekly threat roundup: SAP, Windows 10, Chrome
vulnerability

Weekly threat roundup: SAP, Windows 10, Chrome

21 Jan 2021

Most Popular

How to move Windows 10 from your old hard drive to SSD
operating systems

How to move Windows 10 from your old hard drive to SSD

21 Jan 2021
WhatsApp could face €50 million GDPR fine
General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

WhatsApp could face €50 million GDPR fine

25 Jan 2021
Trump pardons convicted ex-Google engineer Levandowski
intellectual property

Trump pardons convicted ex-Google engineer Levandowski

20 Jan 2021