Mark Zuckerberg will testify before U.S. lawmakers in two separate hearings next week

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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.

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Democrats call for hearings on Disney’s bid to buy 21st Century Fox

Lawmakers on the House and Senate’s top antitrust committee say Congress should take a closer look

A collection of top Democrats in the U.S. Congress want to hold hearings on Disney’s $ 52 billion bid to buy 21st Century Fox.

Key voices on competition and consumer protection fear Disney’s latest deal will only solidify its dominance in entertainment — granting it too many major box-office franchises and too much power over regional sports networks and streaming video services.

“I’m concerned about the impact of this transaction on American consumers,” said Sen. Amy Klobuchar, the top Democratic lawmaker on her chamber’s leading antitrust oversight committee.

Klobuchar said she has already asked the Republican leaders of the Senate Judiciary Committee to convene a hearing. With deals of this magnitude, her panel and others like it often do — though GOP leaders have not yet signaled their plans.

Her counterpart in the House, meanwhile, sounded a similarly fearful note.

“Another day, another mega-merger,” said Rep. David Cicilline in a statement last week. “Disney’s proposed purchase of 21st Century Fox threatens to put control of TV, movie, and news content into the hands of a single media giant.”

For the moment, it’s still early days for Disney’s acquisition of 21st Century Fox. The deal as proposed would see Disney acquire Fox’s film and TV studios, including franchises like “Avatar” and “X-men,” as well as Fox’s regional sports networks and a controlling stake in Hulu. However, Disney would not gain Fox News; the network would remain in the hands of its current owner, Rupert Murdoch.

Both sides have told investors will likely take 12 to 18 months to complete, and they will still have to sell the deal to government regulators, who must review the merger to determine its effects on competitors and consumers. That task likely will fall to the Justice Department, which weeks took the rare step of suing companies in a different blockbuster deal — AT&T’s bid for Time Warner.

In these kinds of transactions Congress doesn’t actually have a say. But lawmakers do often probe major mergers anyway, not the least because the DOJ’s own, independent investigation happens outside of public view. At the very least, the hearings — sometimes featuring testimony from major chief executives — can ultimately shape public opinion about the companies’ plans.

To that end, consolidation-wary Democrats have urged their Republican colleagues all week to schedule multiple hearings on Disney’s pursuit of 21st Century Fox. Among those advocating for greater scrutiny has been Rep. Frank Pallone, the Democrats’ top player on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which oversees tech and telecom.

“The Committee’s oversight into these proposed mergers has been lacking,” he said in a statement. “Despite repeated calls from Democratic members, this committee has not had a single hearing to look at the changing video marketplace in more than four years — before many online video services had even launched.”


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Facebook announces new advertising disclosures days before Congressional hearings

Next week, Facebook will appear before the Senate Intelligence and Judiciary committees to answer questions about Russian meddling in the 2016 election. But before it does, the company is laying out the steps it plans to take voluntarily to prevent foreign actors from interfering again. Facebook today said it would introduce its new disclosures around advertising next month, starting with a test in Canada before it rolled out more broadly elsewhere.

“When it comes to advertising on Facebook, people should be able to tell who the advertiser is and see the ads they’re running, especially for political ads,” said Rob Goldman, vice president of advertising, in a blog post. “That level of transparency is good for democracy and it’s good for…

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The U.S. Congress is going to hold two hearings on the massive Equifax data breach

Meanwhile, New York announces its own investigation.

The U.S. Congress plans to probe a massive data breach at the credit-monitoring service Equifax that compromised roughly 143 million Americans’ most sensitive information.

Two panels of lawmakers each announced on Friday they planned to grill the company at an upcoming hearing, the date of which the committees did not share. Still, it’s likely to spell only the start of serious scrutiny for Equifax, where hackers earlier this summer gained access to Social Security numbers, home addresses and some credit card data.

“This unprecedented data breach could impact tens of millions of Americans and raises serious questions about the security of our personal information online,” said Rep. Greg Walden, the Republican who leads the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

“After receiving an initial briefing from Equifax, I have decided to hold a hearing on the matter so that we can learn what went wrong and what we need to do to better protect consumers from serious breaches like this in the future,” he said in a statement.

The House Financial Services Committee also plans to hold a hearing on the incident, its leader, Rep. Jeb Hensarling, announced earlier in the day.

Congress typically wades into major cybersecurity incidents, and in the past it has probed major breaches that have befallen companies like Target and Home Depot. But lawmakers have struggled for years to write and pass legislation that would set a single, national standard for how companies inform consumers when their private data has been stolen.

Otherwise, Equifax could face more formal scrutiny, including a review by the Federal Trade Commission, typically the country’s privacy-and-security cop. The agency declined to say Friday if it is investigating the matter, citing policy against confirming or denying potential reviews.

But Equifax did learn earlier Friday it would face a formal investigation in New York. There, the state’s attorney general, Eric Schneiderman, already has sent the company a litany of questions about its handling of the breach. And Schneiderman pressed Equifax to remove legal language from its special website notifying affected consumers that might prevent them from filing class-action lawsuits.


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