Washington: Facebook has signaled that CEO Mark Zuckerberg will testify before Congress by discussing the details of the appearance with lawmakers, according to a person familiar with the conversations.
- Three congressional committees have invited Mark Zuckerberg to testify
- The hearings were propted by revelations about Cambridge Analytica
- Zuckerberg stayed quiet for nearly a week after the controversy erupted
Three congressional committees have invited Zuckerberg to testify, including the Senate Judiciary Committee at an April 10 meeting about data privacy. It is unclear how many hearings Zuckerberg will attend, and of which committees.
The congressional hearings were prompted by revelations that data consultancy Cambridge Analytica had wrongfully obtained personal information on at least 30 million American Facebook users.
Zuckerberg stayed mum for nearly a week after the Cambridge Analytica controversy erupted, frustrating both lawmakers and Facebook employees. In an interview with CNN last Wednesday, he answered the question of whether he would testify by saying that he was "happy to, if it's the right thing to do."
He added that he felt it often made more sense to send subject matter experts. "What I think we've found so far is that typically there are people whose whole job is focused on an area, but I would imagine at some point that there would be a topic where I am the sole authority on and that would make sense for me to do and I'll be happy to do it at that point."
On Tuesday, Facebook opted not to make Zuckerberg available to testify before a key parliamentary committee in the United Kingdom investigating the same issue, which had asked him to appear. That panel's leader, Chairman Damian Collins, previously accused Facebook of having "understated the risk" about the data it holds on its users - and whether it had been taken without consent.
Instead, Facebook said in a letter to Collins that it would send one of his deputies, Chief Technology Officer Mike Schroepfer and Chief Product Officer Chris Cox, in his place. Cox is now slated to appear at a hearing in the coming weeks.
In the United States, three congressional committees requested that Zuckerberg testify. One of the panels, the Senate Judiciary Committee, also asked the leaders of Google and Twitter to join him at a hearing in April focused broadly on Silicon Valley's data privacy practices. But lawmakers so far have not said if they'd take the rare step of issuing a subpoena, forcing Zuckerberg to appear.
Spokespeople for the three committees - including the House Energy and Commerce Committee and Senate Commerce Committee - did not respond to emails seeking comment Tuesday.
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