GOP senator on Facebook: 'We have a problem'

GOP senator on Facebook: 'We have a problem'
© Camille Fine

Republican Sen. John KennedyJohn Neely KennedyMORE (R-La.) said in an interview broadcast Sunday that Facebook has “a problem” with privacy and propaganda.

“We have a problem. Our promised digital utopia has minefields in it. Mr. Zuckerberg has not exhausted himself being forthcoming,” Kennedy told CBS’s “Face the Nation,” referring to Facebook chief executive Mark ZuckerbergMark Elliot ZuckerbergChina and Big Tech pose threats to our democracy, but we have the power to regulate one Hillicon Valley: Apple woes raise stakes for trade deal | Zuckerberg wants public debate on tech in 2019 | Suspect arrested in German data leak | Watchdog wants investigation into Lieberman's work for Chinese firm ZTE Zuckerberg promises public discussions throughout 2019 MORE.

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“We had one hearing. Mr. Zuckerberg sent his lawyer. Very bright, very articulate. Could talk a dog off a meat wagon. But he didn't say anything.”

Kennedy's remarks come amid fallout from revelations that the British data firm Cambridge Analytica, which worked on President Trump's 2016 campaign, acquired the Facebook data of more than 87 million users without their consent. 

Kennedy, who sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee, said he does not want to regulate Facebook “half to death,” but that he hopes Zuckerberg “will come to the table.” 

“And my biggest worry in all of this — and I have many, many questions, Mr. Zuckerberg — but my biggest worry with all this is that the privacy issue and what I call, called the propagandist issue are both too big for Facebook to fix, and that's the frightening part,” Kennedy said.

Zuckerberg is set to testify in a joint hearing before the Senate Judiciary and Commerce committees on Tuesday.

Zuckerberg is also set to testify with House Energy and Commerce Committee on Wednesday.