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Some Facebook advertisers pressing pause

Some Facebook advertisers hitting pause
Some Facebook advertisers hitting pause 06:55

A key for question for Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg when he testifies before Congress next week about the Cambridge Analytica data scandal is likely to be how long the company's executives were aware of the issue before it was publicly disclosed. 

"What did you know and when did you know it will certainly be at the center of the questioning. What's so interesting is the way [Facebook Chief Operating Officer] Sheryl Sandberg parsed her language, particularly when it comes to when did you know this and what did you do about this," saidTech Republic CBSN contributor Dan Patterson. "And her response was, 'Well, they told us that they deleted it,' which seems... a pretty weak defense, and unfortunately that's not going to be enough for lawmakers." 

Another issue facing Facebook may be keeping its advertisers happy. Advertisers and third-party apps have flocked to the social media giant because of its vast user data, with Facebook generating profits of almost $16 billion last year. 

In an interview on Thursday with Bloomberg television where she apologized for the handling of the data issue, Sandberg said "a few advertisers" had paused their spending. 

"What matters is the questions they're asking...advertisers are people. They're people who use Facebook, so are investors. And everyone wants to know the same thing which is, are you protecting people's data?"

Money from advertising makes up nearly all of Facebook's revenue. Restricting access to user data could make targeted ads less effective. 

Zuckerberg prepares for grilling 02:08

Facebook on Wednesday issued updates of its data policy, which sheds more light on how much data it collects on users and how that information is shared with other services. On Friday, Zuckerberg announced two more steps the company is taking to head off interference in the 2018 midterm elections.

"I think that Facebook is a platform that has the scale of 2 billion users. So although this has the potential to impact in the short term, I think in the long term, as long as Facebook can build and continue to iterate on a product that fulfills the needs of its users, it won't have a long-term impact on the advertising within the platform," Patterson said. 

Patterson added, "I wonder at what point we will reach where the public will say, well, my privacy is worth money, it's worth cash out of my pocket.

--CBS News' Aimee Picchi contributed reporting

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