Warner: Congress should 'relook' at how to regulate Facebook

Sen. Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerDems can use subpoena power to reclaim the mantle of populism Is there a difference between good and bad online election targeting? Collusion judgment looms for key Senate panel MORE (D-Va.) said Sunday he thinks Congress should reassess how to regulate social media companies following reports that a data firm harvested data from millions of Facebook users without their permission.

"All of these social media platform companies have said they have no responsibility for any of the content. I think we have to relook at that,” Warner said on NBC’s  “Meet The Press.” 

“I think in many ways they’re media companies,” he continued. “I think we have to relook at the fact that if you move from one company to another maybe you should be able to move all your data.”


Facebook has faced intense scrutiny since it revealed earlier this month that the British research firm Cambridge Analytica improperly took data from 50 million Facebook users without those users' consent.

Cambridge Analytica was later hired by the Trump campaign.

Facebook founder and CEO Mark ZuckerbergMark Elliot ZuckerbergHillicon Valley: Russia-linked hackers hit Eastern European companies | Twitter shares data on influence campaigns | Dems blast Trump over China interference claims | Saudi crisis tests Silicon Valley | Apple to let customers download their data Public funds support proposal to remove Zuckerberg as Facebook chairman Obama responds to several excuses people give for not voting in new video MORE said last week that he’s open to having his company be regulated.

Warner on Sunday joined a growing chorus of senators who have said they'd like to see Zuckerberg testify before Congress. He said Zuckerberg and the heads of other social media platforms should work with lawmakers to create practical legislation that could protect social media users. 

“Congress is not always at best in terms of cutting-edge technology. [Social media executives] need to work with us so we can try to get it right,” Warner said. 

He added that industry executives have been "reluctant" to take responsibility for the ways in which their platforms can be manipulated.

“I don’t want to regulate these companies into oblivion but I do think people need to have the ability to know whether information they’re receiving is honest, truthful or at least originates in this country,” he said.