Zuckerberg to testify before House panel

Zuckerberg to testify before House panel
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Facebook chief executive Mark ZuckerbergMark ZuckerbergFacebook formula gave anger five times weight of likes, documents show 'Facebook Papers' turn up heat on embattled social media platform TikTok, Snapchat executives to make Capitol Hill debuts MORE will testify before the House Energy and Commerce Committee later this month, lawmakers said on Wednesday.

The Facebook CEO’s testimony will address how the British research firm used by the Trump campaign, Cambridge Analytica, improperly harvested data from 50 million Facebook users.

“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," said Energy and Commerce Chairman Greg WaldenGregory (Greg) Paul WaldenEx-Sen. Cory Gardner joins lobbying firm Ex-Rep. John Shimkus joins lobbying firm Lobbying world MORE (R-Ore.) and the committee's top Democrat, Rep. Frank Pallone Jr.Frank Joseph PalloneHouse Democrats announce bill to rein in tech algorithms House Democrats ramp up probe of FDA approval of Alzheimer's drug Intercept bureau chief: Democrats dropping support of Medicare for All could threaten bill's momentum MORE (N.J.) in a statement.

"We appreciate Mr. Zuckerberg’s willingness to testify before the committee, and we look forward to him answering our questions on April 11th," they added. 

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Facebook officials had previously briefed the Energy and Commerce Committee, as well as other congressional committees on the Cambridge Analytica breach, but Walden said that "many questions were unanswered.”

“Mr. Zuckerberg has stated that he would be willing to testify if he is the right person. We believe, as CEO of Facebook, he is the right witness to provide answers to the American people,” Walden and Pallone said at the time.

Zuckerberg has also been formally invited to testify at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing scheduled for April 10, and Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneThune endorses Herschel Walker in Georgia Senate race Democratic frustration with Sinema rises Senate Republicans raise concerns about TSA cyber directives for rail, aviation MORE (R-S.D.) has said that he would like Zuckerberg to testify before his panel as well.

Since Facebook revealed the Cambridge Analytica breach of user data, the company has been mired in scrutiny from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle over its data privacy and collection practices.

Lawmakers have questioned why the company let third parties collect data on Facebook users’ friends, without their express consent, and why Facebook didn’t take stronger action to make sure Cambridge Analytica came through on its promises to delete improperly collected user data.

Critics have also been eager to know if the Cambridge Analytica data was ever used by the Trump campaign or by groups seeking to influence the Brexit vote in the U.K.

The disclosure has sparked new debate over user privacy on the internet among the public as well.

Facebook is also dealing with criticism over the spread of hoax news stories on its platform, and Russians using it to influence election in the U.S. and other countries.

— This report was updated at 8:40 a.m.