Despite US Senators grilling Zuckerberg Facebook shares rise

WASHINGTON/SAN FRANCISCO: Facebook Inc shares rose Tuesday to their highest in almost three weeks as chief executive Mark Zuckerberg fended off questions from US senators on how the social network handles user data and plans to counter attempts at interfering in US elections.

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Zuckerberg repeated his Monday apologies for a range of problems that have beset the world’s largest social network, but the 33-year-old internet mogul broke little new ground in a joint hearing of the US Senate’s Commerce and Judiciary committees, raising investor hopes he could forestall strict regulation.

“We are going through a broad philosophical shift at the company,” said Zuckerberg, wearing a dark suit and tie instead of his typical T-shirt and jeans.

Investors appeared to welcome his performance.

“Zuckerberg is conciliatory in his presentation,” said Mariann Montagne, portfolio manager at Gradient Investments in Arden Hills, Minnesota. “The stock is running up on his comments. Maybe people like seeing Zuckerberg in a suit.”

Facebook shares closed up 4.5 percent at $165.04.

Facebook faces a growing crisis of confidence among users, advertisers, employees, and investors after acknowledging that up to 87 million people, mostly in the US, had personal information harvested from the site by Cambridge Analytica, a political consultancy that has counted US President Donald Trump’s election campaign among its clients.

Reuters

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