Among the many questions Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrestled with as he testified before Congress Tuesday and Wednesday was one of a more existential nature: What, exactly, is Facebook? She raised the question of company's dominant market position, a monopoly of sorts, especially considering the company also owns Instagram and WhatsApp. Shares in Facebook posted their biggest daily gain in almost two years, closing up 4.5 percent on Tuesday.
Again, a similar unwillingness to answer.
During the hearing, Facebook shares made a noticeable jump, gaining 4.5 percent, adding $20 billion to its market cap - the biggest daily gain in almost two years. He also said Facebook does not collect information from users' verbal conversations through mobile devices' microphones.
In his opening remarks, he said: "Facebook is an idealistic and optimistic company".
"I have no specific knowledge of any data that we've ever given to Russian Federation", he told lawmakers, adding that he was not aware of any activity in Moscow or China to scrape Facebook data.
Mark Zuckerberg made the disclosure during his second day of being questioned in Washington.
There's a lot Zuckerberg doesn't know (or says he doesn't know) that House lawmakers think he should.
"My position is not that there should be no regulation, but I also think you have to be careful about what regulation you put in place", he said. As representative Fred Upton noted, "a more regulatory environment might stifle new platforms, might stifle competition" - something, of course, that Facebook might not be too unhappy about.
And yet, Zuckerberg admitted he had not been able to stop his own data from being collected by Cambridge Analytica.
Representativ. G.K. Butterfield, a member of the congressional Black Caucus, pressed Zuckerberg to explain why none of the five individuals listed as part of the company's leadership team are African-American. Facebook has been reeling following revelations last month that the political data-mining firm Cambridge Analytica, which was affiliated with Trump's 2016 campaign, improperly scooped up data on about 87 million users.
With so much attention on the social media giant we can't seem to live without, it's easy to get worked up regarding its policies.
But what comes next is unclear.
Some of the lawmakers talked to Zuckerberg, 33, as they would their children or grandchildren, and were occasionally befuddled by the complexities of his company.
House lawmakers aggressively questioned Zuckerberg Wednesday on user data, privacy settings and whether the company is biased against conservatives. "The only thing that would work is legislation that limited what ad-tech systems could take and how long they could keep it".
On the other hand, Senator Durbin from the Democratic Party asked a series of questions and hit the matter right on the spot.
"I started Facebook, I run it, and I'm responsible for what happens here".
Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., the committee chairman, asked Zuckerberg if it ever crossed his mind several years ago when user data was being extracted from Facebook "that you should be communicating more clearly with users that Facebook is monetizing their data".
"One of the things that-that we've struggled with over time is to make something that is as simple as possible so people can understand it, as well as giving them controls in line in the product in the context of when they're trying to actually use them, taking into account that we don't expect that most people will want to go through and read a full legal document", he said. No, Facebook doesn't sell your data.
Seemingly unimpressed, Republican Sen. Over the two days, the value of Zuckerberg's stake in the company grew about $3 billion. He assured senators the company would have handled the situation differently today. He offered no details, citing a concern about confidentiality rules of the investigation.
The questioning often veered into topics unrelated to data privacy and Russian election interference, which have dominated headlines about Facebook for months. We do that for a number of reasons, including security and including measuring ads to make sure that the ad experiences are the most effective, which of course people can opt out of.
Some representatives think Facebook has violated its consent decree with the Federal Trade Commission.
"He's giving the same responses to the same questions from different senators", said Helio Fred Garcia, a professor of crisis management at NYU and Columbia University in NY.