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Republican senator comes under fire after “Swahili” reference during Facebook hearings

in Privacy & Surveillance/Race and Ethnicity by

John Kennedy: “I have nothing to apologize for.”


While questioning Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg during the first day of his Congressional hearings about the platform’s privacy agreement, Sen. John Kennedy, (R-LA) offered a scathing review of the policy and requested whether the company’s lawyers could put the terms into more understandable language.

It seemed like a benign request until he added this:

“Tell them you want it written in English and non-Swahili, so the average American can understand it. That would be a start,” he said.

Social media users condemned the remarks noting that while they may have agreed with the Senator’s overall sentiment, the Swahili reference was unnecessary.

Later a CNN journalist followed up with Kennedy and asked whether he would apologize after learning he offended some with his racialized wording. He declined to apologize saying, ‘there’s nothing to apologize for. I think everybody understands the point I was trying to make.”

Zuckerberg appeared before congress this week to answer for discoveries that Facebook allowed data of 87 million users to third parties without the user’s knowledge.

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