Health & Science

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?

Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) asked Zuckerberg whether the social networking website was a tech company or a publisher.

Zuckerberg replied, "When people ask us if we're a media company — or a publisher — my understanding of what the heart of what they're really getting at is, 'Do we feel responsibility for the content on our platform?' The answer to that, I think, is clearly yes."

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The acting chief executive officer of Cambridge Analytica, the political data firm embroiled in controversy after improperly sharing data from some 87 million Facebook users, has stepped down. Alexander Tayler is the second CEO to step down since the scandal broke in March.

A statement on Cambridge Analytica's website says Tayler will resume his former position as chief data officer "in order to focus on the various technical investigations and inquiries."

Last December, Deb Wiese bought hearing aids for her parents, one for each of them. She ordered them online from a big-box retailer and paid $719 for the pair. But her parents, in their 80s and retired from farming in central Minnesota, couldn't figure out how to adjust the volume or change the batteries. They soon set them aside.

"Technology is not only unfamiliar, but unwelcome" to her parents, Wiese says. "I don't know what the answer is for people like that."

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We named our science and culture commentary 13.7: Cosmos & Culture when it launched nearly nine years ago.

At the time, the universe was believed to be 13.7 billion years old. But according to data released from the Planck satellite since, it took a bit longer: 13.8 billion years from the Big Bang to this blog.

Here's how it (the commentary, not the Big Bang) came to be:

It is so common that it likely will have happened at least once somewhere in the United States by the time you finish reading this sentence. But it took more than 230 years for it to happen to a senator in office.

On Monday, Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., became the first sitting senator to give birth, challenging Senate leaders to face just how ill prepared they may be to accommodate the needs of a new mother.

Updated at 3:08 p.m. ET

After five hours of testimony before a joint session of two Senate committees on Tuesday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg returned to the Capitol for a second straight day of grilling — this time before the House.

When Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified before a joint Senate Committee on Wednesday, he led off with a mea culpa. Just a few paragraphs into his opening statement, he took personal responsibility for the disinformation:

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Yesterday tens of millions of people woke up to a message from Facebook.

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Well, he survived day one on Capitol Hill, and today, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg heads back for another day of testimony before Congress. He spent nearly five hours testifying in front of Senate committees yesterday.

On Monday, Facebook began notifying the up to 87 million users whose information may have been compromised and given to Cambridge Analytica. As Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies before Congress Tuesday and Wednesday, lawmakers like Sen. Bill Nelson have raised privacy concerns.

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Today is the first of two days of hearings. Tomorrow Zuckerberg will stand before the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

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