At the joint hearing the Senate Judiciary and Commerce committees in which Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified, Senator John Thune (R-SD) gave opening remarks. He talked about the problems associated with data privacy and the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
On April 10 and April 11, 2018, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified to Senate and House committees about recent problems involving consumer privacy, advertising and censorship on Facebook. The topics discussed by the different Senators and Representatives ranged from issues like restricting content to how Facebook uses personal data when selling advertisements. The committees also discussed with Mr. Zuckerberg the best way to regulate these issues. This lesson breaks up the hearing into three issues that students can research and discuss as a class. The themes include: how Facebook reviews and restricts content, how Facebook uses user date to sell advertisements, and if the issues with Facebook and other similar platforms should be regulated by the government.
Have students watch the opening statements from Senator John Thune (R-SD) and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Students will answer the questions below to provide background information on the hearings.
VIDEO CLIP: Sen. Thune's (R-SD) Opening Statement at the Facebook Privacy Hearing (5:02)
Pick one of the following themes for the class to focus on. Have the students either view each of the videos or assign the videos to individuals and have them report out. Each theme has a discussion question that students should be prepared to answer.
THEME- ADVERTISEMENTS AND THE PRIVACY OF USER DATA: Have the students watch each of the videos on how Facebook uses consumers' data to sell advertisements. Students can take notes using the Facebook Hearing handout (Google Doc). This can be done as a Jigsaw activity also. After hearing different points of views, students should be able to answer the following question:
Advertisements and the Privacy of User Data Videos
VIDEO CLIP: House Facebook Hearing: Rep. Matsui (D-CA) on Data and Advertisements (1:57)
THEME- RESTRICTING CONTENT:
Have the students watch each of the videos on how Facebook restricts certain content. Students can take notes using the Facebook Hearing handout. This can be done as a Jigsaw activity also. After hearing different points of views, students should be able to answer the following question:
Restricting Content Videos
VIDEO CLIP: Hate Groups on Facebook (1:38)
VIDEO CLIP: House Facebook Hearing: Rep. Hudson's (R-NY) Question on What is Hate Speech (1:39)
THEME- REGULATIONS AND LEGISLATION:
Have the students watch each of the videos on regulation and legislation on companies and platforms like Facebook. Students can take notes using the Facebook Hearing handout. This can be done as a Jigsaw activity also. After hearing different points of views, students should be able to answer the following question:
Regulations and Legislation Videos
VIDEO CLIP: Senate Facebook Hearing: Sen. Hatch's (R-UT) Question on Legislative Changes (2:39)
VIDEO CLIP: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg Says Regulation is Inevitable (2:33)
Letter to a Member of Congress- Research an issue mentioned in the lesson and write a letter to your member of Congress. In this letter, include what you would like your member of Congress to do with this issue. Support your argument.
Research a Bill- Choose one of the bills mentioned in the videos. Research the bill using Congress's website. Determine who sponsored the bill, what the bill includes and where the bill is in the legislative process.
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