Zuckerberg to testify before House panel

Zuckerberg to testify before House panel
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Facebook chief executive Mark ZuckerbergMark Elliot ZuckerbergHillicon Valley: Facebook to remove mentions of potential whistleblower's name | House Dems demand FCC action over leak of location data | Dem presses regulators to secure health care data Warren campaign launches 'a calculator for the billionaires' after Gates criticism Hillicon Valley: California AG reveals Facebook investigation | McConnell criticizes Twitter's political ad ban | Lawmakers raise concerns over Google takeover of Fitbit | Dem pushes FCC to secure 5G networks 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 WaldenThe Hill's Campaign Report: Bloomberg looks to upend Democratic race The GOP should follow the example of Rep. Greg Walden Shimkus announces he will stick with plan to retire after reconsidering MORE (R-Ore.) and the committee's top Democrat, Rep. Frank Pallone Jr.Frank Joseph PalloneDemocrats demand FCC act over leak of phone location data Democrats say they're waiting for nearly 50 requests for Trump info on science, environment Trump pressed to follow through on vaping crackdown 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 ThuneTrump encounters GOP resistance to investigating Hunter Biden Republicans warn election results are 'wake-up call' for Trump The Hill's 12:30 Report: Public impeachment hearings to begin next week 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.