Mark Zuckerberg will testify before the House Energy and Commerce Committee on April 11. E & C Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) and Senior Member Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) made this announcement this morning, clarifying that Zuckerberg will talk about the company's use and protection of user data.
This is what the congressmen had to say in a prepared statement:
This hearing will be an important opportunity to shed light on critical consumer privacy issues and help all Americans better understand what happens to their personal information online. We appreciate Mr. Zuckerberg's willingness to testify before the committee, and we look forward to answering our questions on April 11.
All this occurs in the midst of the greatest existential threat to Facebook that we have yet to see.
In 2014, a third-party test application developed by Aleksandr Kogan collected data from around 50 million gross profiles. Only 270,000 people downloaded the application and participated in the survey, but at that time Facebook allowed third parties to gather information about friends of friends.
Facebook no longer allows this data exchange and requested certification in 2015 that this data had been deleted.
Kogan harvested and sold that information to Cambridge Analytica, a political firm that would use information about identity, social networks and likes to focus on demographics and influence voters. In 2016, the Trump Campaign hired Cambridge Analytica.
After these revelations, a move towards #deletefacebook emerged on the Internet. But it was not just the users who reacted.
On March 21, Zuck issued his first response to the scandal, adding: "If it ever happens that I am the most informed person on Facebook in the best position to testify, I will be happy to do so."
Two days later, the House and the Senate notified Zuckerberg and told him that he was the right person to testify. CNN reported on March 27 that Zuck had accepted the fact that he would have to testify and that the Facebook team began to prepare for his day at the Hill.
That day now has a precise date: April 11.