Mark Zuckerberg will testify before U.S. lawmakers in two separate hearings next week
He’ll testify before two Senate committees on Tuesday, and a House committee on Wednesday.
Mark Zuckerberg is officially headed to Washington.
The Facebook CEO has accepted an invitation to testify before lawmakers from the House Committee on Energy and Commerce on the company’s recent Cambridge Analytica privacy scandal, in which personal data from some 50 million users ended up in the hands of an outside research firm that worked with the Trump campaign, all without those users’ permission.
Zuckerberg will testify on Wednesday, April 11, at 10 am ET, according to a release, “regarding the company’s use and protection of user data.”
“This hearing will be an important opportunity to shed light on critical consumer data privacy issues and help all Americans better understand what happens to their personal information online. We appreciate Mr. Zuckerberg’s willingness to testify before the committee, and we look forward to him answering our questions on April 11th,” committee chairman Greg Walden, R-Ore., and ranking member Frank Pallone, Jr., D-NJ, said in a canned quote.
Update: Zuckerberg will also testify before two Senate committees in a joint hearing that was announced late Wednesday. The hearing, which will take place at 2:15 pm ET next Tuesday, April 10, is titled, “Facebook, Social Media Privacy, and the Use and Abuse of Data.” Zuckerberg will answer questions from the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee.
Zuckerberg was invited to testify before three separate congressional committees to discuss the company’s privacy policies, including the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee. Facebook has been working behind the scenes to schedule his appearance for almost two weeks, though would not commit to anything publicly until today.
Back in mid-March, Zuckerberg told Recode in an interview that he was open to testifying “if I’m the right [person].”
“You know, I’m open to doing that,” he said when asked if he would testify. “I think that the way that we look at testifying in front of Congress is that … We actually do this fairly regularly, right? There are high-profile ones like the Russian investigation, but there are lots of different topics that Congress needs and wants to know about. And the way that we approach it is that our responsibility is to make sure that they have access to all the information that they need to have. So I’m open to doing it.”
Zuckerberg’s appearance will be a big deal — in part because Zuckerberg has never testified before, and in part because the company’s Cambridge Analytica fiasco has become a symbol of sorts for how big tech companies like Facebook are not doing enough to protect user privacy.
The concern, if you are a Facebook investor, is that lawmakers will walk away from a Zuckerberg testimony with the belief the company needs to be regulated. Facebook’s entire business relies on collecting personal information from people and using that information to show those people targeted advertising.
When Facebook testified in front of Congress last fall about Russian groups using the service to try and influence the 2016 presidential election, Facebook sent its top lawyer, Colin Stretch, instead of Zuckerberg.