Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to testify before House committee

Mark Zuckerberg_319665

FILE – In this Saturday, March 19, 2016, file photo, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks during a panel discussion held as part of the China Development Forum at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing. Zuckerberg briefly found his Twitter account hijacked, as were at least two of his other social media accounts. Zuckerberg’s Facebook account […]

WASHINGTON (NBC) — Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg will testify before the House Energy and Commerce Committee on April 11, according to an announcement from the committee released on Wednesday.

The public testimony will be Zuckerberg’s first before the U.S. government and comes after Facebook has been the subject of broad criticism and numerous legal inquiries over how the user information of 50 million Facebook users ended up in the possession of a data-analysis firm that worked with President Donald Trump’s election campaign.

“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 Greg Walden, R-OR, and Frank Pallone Jr, D-NJ, in the press release. “We appreciate Mr. Zuckerberg’s willingness to testify before the committee, and we look forward to him answering our questions on April 11th.”

Zuckerberg’s testimony is scheduled for 10 a.m. EST and will touch on the how the company uses and how it protects user data.

Zuckerberg had said in recent interviews that he was “open” to testifying in relation to questions over how Cambridge Analytica, a U.K.-based data analysis firm, was able to acquire the user data of 50 million Facebook users.

That controversy has opened a wider debate about the responsibility that tech companies have to ensure the privacy of their users. Facebook had previously allowed other apps to scrape data of users that opted into their services, and also scrape the data of friends of those users who had not opted in.

Facebook and Zuckerberg have since launched an apology tour that has included numerous interviews and full-page newspaper ads.

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