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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Mark Zuckerberg's Senate testimony included few revelations, and he often had to explain the mechanics of Facebook's platform in answering lawmakers' questions — so there was plenty of ground that Zuckerberg was able to avoid.

Our take: The majority of the 44 lawmakers questioning Zuckerberg in the joint Senate hearing were not well versed in the workings of Facebook or how data is shared between platforms, developers and advertisers. The questions generally focused on what Facebook was capable of doing, allowing Zuckerberg to stay in a safe zone of providing the basics.

What we learned: Facebook's CEO said he'd handle the Cambridge Analytica data leak differently if he had a do-over, confirmed Facebook staffers are cooperating with Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team, affirmed he'd "welcome the right regulation," and (unsurprisingly) asserted that he doesn't think Facebook is a monopoly.

What we didn't learn: Here are the questions that remain unanswered.

Exactly what kind of privacy regulation is Facebook open to?

  • Zuckerberg carefully avoided committing to any specific privacy rules. He did offer some vague suggestions, like requiring simpler language to explain how data is used, but didn't get into specifics.
  • He said an "opt-in" requirement (i.e., Facebook would have to get users' consent before sharing their data) "makes sense to discuss," but added that "the details around this matter a lot."
  • He said web platforms like Facebook shouldn't be subject to the same rules as the "pipes" run by internet service providers. "In general, the expectations people have for the pipes are different than for the platform."
  • He said a potential rule of notifying affected users within 72 hours of a breach "makes sense to me." (Key distinction: Facebook says the Cambridge Analytica situation was not a data breach.)

Will Facebook truly be able to monitor the troves of content on its site for harmful material and misinformation?

  • Zuckerberg said the safety monitoring team would be expanded to 20,000 people, and artificial intelligence would help weed out fake news.
  • But he was unable to guarantee that, for example, the site was free from propaganda such as material Russians placed during the 2016 election. "As long as there are people sitting in Russia whose job it is to interfere with elections around the world, this is going to be an ongoing conflict."

Has Facebook removed left-leaning groups or pages from the site?

  • Sen. Ted Cruz peppered him with questions about Facebook's role in political speech and asked if Facebook has removed pages or content from left-leaning groups the way it previously removed some right-leaning pages.
  • Zuckerberg said he was "not aware" of such instances but assured Cruz that content takedowns had not happened because of an employee's political views. He also insisted a job candidates' political leanings don't matter during the hiring process.

How long does Facebook store data after a user deletes their profile?

  • Zuckerberg said he wasn't sure and would ask his team to get back to the committee.

When did he personally first find out about Cambridge Analytica's inappropriate data use?

  • Facebook discovered that the firm had the data in December 2015. But it is unclear if Zuckerberg personally knew anything earlier than that, or exactly how Zuckerberg was informed of the breach.

Should Facebook allow users to be paid for data?

  • Zuckerberg was asked by Sen. Ron Johnson about ideas to let users monetize their own data. "I’m not sure exactly how it would work to be monetized by the person directly," he said, adding that an ad-supported business model was the best one for the company.

What's next: Zuckerberg testifies in the House Wednesday morning, where members have the chance to revisit questions. But so far, Zuckerberg has emerged mostly unscathed.

Go deeper

Scoop: Border officials project 13,000 child migrants in May

The "El Chaparral" border crossing at Tijuana. Photo: Stringer/Picture Alliance via Getty Images

A Customs and Border Protection staffer told top administration officials Thursday the agency is projecting a peak of 13,000 unaccompanied children crossing the border in May, sources directly familiar with the discussion told Axios.

Why it matters: That projection would exceed the height of the 2019 crisis, which led to the infamous "kids-in-cages" disaster. It also underscores a rapidly escalating crisis for the Biden administration.

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U.S. strikes Iran-backed militia facilities in Syria

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The United States on Thursday carried out an airstrike against facilities in Syria linked to an Iran-backed militia group, the Pentagon announced.

The state of play: The strike, approved by President Biden, comes "in response to recent attacks against American and Coalition personnel in Iraq, and to ongoing threats to those personnel," Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said in a statement.

Senate parliamentarian rules $15 minimum wage cannot be included in relief package

Photo: Al Drago/Getty Images

The Senate parliamentarian ruled Thursday that the provision to increase the minimum wage to $15/hour cannot be included in the broader $1.9 trillion COVID relief package.

Why it matters: It's now very likely that any increase in the minimum wage will need bipartisan support, as the provision cannot be passed with the simple Senate majority that Democrats are aiming to use for President Biden's rescue bill.