Report: Zuckerberg has decided to testify to Congress
Mark Zuckerberg has decided to testify before Congress, according to a report from CNN.
The Facebook chief executive has been under enormous pressure to publicly answer questions from lawmakers since it was revealed that a campaign research firm working on President Trump’s campaign took user data from 50 million Facebook accounts as part of an effort to target voters.
Zuckerberg as declined to appear before members of Parliament in London, but CNN, citing Facebook sources, said the social media giant’s leader decided it was not possible to avoid testimony from Congress.
Facebook also believes that in testifying, Zuckerberg will put pressure on Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Google CEO Sundar Pichai to also appear before lawmakers, reports CNN.
On Monday, the Senate Judiciary Committee formally invited Zuckerberg to personally testify on Capitol Hill alongside Pichai and Dorsey. Last week, the House Energy and Commerce Committee has also asked Zuckerberg to testify sans executives from other companies.
“As the Chief Executive Officer of Facebook and the employee who has been the leader of Facebook through all the key strategic decisions since its launch, you are the right person to testify before Congress about those decisions and the Facebook business model,” Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.) wrote in his letter inviting the Facebook CEO to appear before the committee.
Zuckerberg had previously said that he would be open to testifying, but only if he was the right person at Facebook to do so.
Other committees, including the Senate Commerce Committee, have said that they want Zuckerberg to testify as well, and at least one lawmaker, Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), has encouraged Committee leadership to subpoena Zuckerberg to appear before Congress if necessary.
Facebook’s scandal with Cambridge Analytica has prompted a larger discussion around privacy online and the extent of data that internet platforms should be allowed to collect on consumers.
The European Union is already in the process of implementing new data collection rules which started before the Cambridge Analytica revelations. Even though U.S. lawmakers have been vocal of Facebook in recent weeks, members of Congress have not formally pushed for any new data collection legislation.