Mark Zuckerberg is having a very busy week in Washington.
The Facebook founder and CEO will testify at a hearing before the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Wednesday, April 11, at 10 am Eastern. He appeared at a joint hearing before the Senate Judiciary and Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation committees on Tuesday.
Zuckerberg will answer questions about Facebook’s handling of user information and data privacy. The appearance comes in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal that left the information of tens of millions of Facebook users exposed and amid enduring questions about how Russia and other groups have used the platform to influence US politics.
Zuckerberg on Tuesday faced a variety of questions from 44 senators, ranging from whether Facebook is a monopoly from Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) to how he protects his own privacy from Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL). Senators seemed on different pages and, at times, confused about what Facebook does, what its problems are, and how they should be fixed.
Zuckerberg on multiple occasions declined to give specifics on questions or said his team would get back to lawmakers with answers. He was largely successful in his mission to avoid making news.
Zuckerberg will probably get grilled with many of the same questions he got from the Senate on the House side on Wednesday. House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR) and ranking member Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (D-NJ) in a statement on Wednesday said their hearing with Zuckerberg 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.”
“We want [Zuckerberg] to account for Facebook’s failure to protect their user data and then, of course, their subsequent failure to take any meaningful action for years,” Pallone said in a phone interview with Vox.
A Facebook spokesperson confirmed Zuckerberg’s Senate and House hearings in an email.
The Cambridge Analytica scandal has Facebook under a spotlight
Facebook and Zuckerberg have come under harsh scrutiny following revelations that Cambridge Analytica, a data analytics firm used by the Trump campaign in the 2016 election, secretly harvested personal data from 87 million of its users. Facebook’s early efforts to contain the scandal fell short, and Zuckerberg was silent about the matter for five days before issuing a statement on it.
Zuckerberg, 33, has since spoken to multiple media outlets about the scandal and questions around Facebook’s handling of its users’ data and information. In tandem, he and the Facebook team are also working to address continued questions over its role in facilitating Russian meddling in the 2016 election. Facebook last week revealed it had uncovered and removed more content from a Kremlin-linked troll farm that sought to influence the 2016 campaign.
Representatives for Facebook, Twitter, and Google testified before Congress regarding Russian disinformation last fall. Zuckerberg and the other companies’ top executives did not attend.
Vox’s Ezra Klein spoke with Zuckerberg in a recent podcast, in which the tech executive admitted the company still has a lot of work to do. “I think we will dig through this hole, but it will take a few years,” Zuckerberg said. “I wish I could solve all these issues in three months or six months, but I just think the reality is that solving some of these questions is just going to take a longer period of time.”
He may not have a lot of time to act — at least not ahead of the congressional committee hearings.
How to watch Zuckerberg’s hearing before the House Energy and Commerce Committee
When: Wednesday, April 11, at 10 am ET
Where: Capitol Hill, Washington, DC