No one at Google envied Mark Zuckerberg last week as he was being grilled by US Congress. But for years, they certainly coveted the personal data that made Facebook Inc a formidable digital ad player. And the strategies they set to compete have now placed Google squarely in the cross hairs of a privacy backlash against the world’s largest social-media company.
The US House and Senate questioned Zuckerberg for about 10 hours after revelations that data on millions of Facebook users got into the hands of Cambridge Analytica, a consulting firm that worked on President Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. The hearings centred on the digital information and machinery Facebook built up to serve targeted ads. No company has a bigger business doing that – except Google. When the grilling ended, Democrats and some Republicans called for broad privacy regulation, putting Google on the hot seat next to Zuckerberg.