The CEO of Facebook will testify before Congress this week to address issues with the platform's mishandling of private user data. Here's everything you need to know, including how to watch Mark Zuckerberg's testimony in front of several congressional committees, and what you can expect to hear the CEO talk about.
On Tuesday, Zuckerberg will head to Capitol Hill to testify in front of the Senate Judiciary and the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation committees. You can tune in at the Senate Judiciary Committee website, where the event will be broadcast live at 2:15 p.m. ET. The hearing is titled "Facebook, Social Media Privacy, and the Use and Abuse of Data," according to the committee's announcement.
The following day, on Wednesday, Zuckerberg will attend a hearing before the House Energy and Commerce Committee. You can watch the livestream of that event at the House Energy and Commerce Committee's YouTube page or on C-SPAN at 10 a.m. ET. Committee Chair Rep. Greg Walden along with Rep. Frank Pallone said in a statement that the 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."
These hearings come two weeks after the Federal Trade Commission announced its investigation into Facebook's privacy practices. The investigation was sparked by a recent scandal involving political data firm Cambridge Analytica, where the company allegedly used millions of Facebook users' data to target specific people with political ads that supported Donald Trump, the Guardian reported.
This week, Zuckerberg will answer questions related to how Facebook protects users' data. The joint hearing "will explore approaches to privacy that satisfy consumer expectations while encouraging innovation," chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen. Chuck Grassley said in a statement.
"Social media has revolutionized the way we communicate, using data to connect people from around the world," he continued. "With all of the data exchanged over Facebook and other platforms, users deserve to know how their information is shared and secured."
Chair of the Commerce committee, Sen. John Thune added that they'll ask Zuckerberg about his plan for “addressing problems that have generated significant concern about Facebook’s role in our democracy, bad actors using the platform, and user privacy.”
Thune said that Facebook "now plays a critical role in many social relationships," including "informing Americans about current events, and pitching everything from products to political candidates." The committees want to have a "public conversation with the CEO of this powerful and influential company," Thune said.
Facebook has faced financial fallout since the Cambridge Analytica story broke. The company's stock is down nearly 15 percent, according to CBS News, and its market value has fallen by tens of billions of dollars. Some advertisers, too, including Mozilla and Tesla, have severed ties with the company, TIME magazine reported.
Following the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Zuckerberg told TIME the incident was a "major breach of trust." He elaborated in a statement on Facebook, explaining that at the time of the data breach, Facebook apps were able to access much more personal user data than they are in 2018. Zuckerberg said that in 2014, the company "dramatically" limited the data third-party apps can access.
The CEO went on to apologize in full-page newspaper ads throughout the United States and the United Kingdom. “This was a breach of trust and I’m sorry we didn’t do more at the time,” he wrote. “I promise to do better for you.”
While Zuckerberg hasn't commented yet on his upcoming testimony in front of Congress, he will be participating, according to the lawmakers' statement, and not sending an executive in his place, as he did with U.K. lawmakers last month. "We appreciate Mr. Zuckerberg's willingness to testify before the committee," Walden said, "and we look forward to him answering our questions on April 11th."