Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg will testify before a House oversight panel on April 11 amid a privacy scandal that has roiled the social media giant, the panel announced Wednesday.
Reps. Greg Walden, R-Ore., and Frank Pallone, D-N.J., said the House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing will focus on the Facebook’s “use and protection of user data.” Announcement of the hearing date comes as Facebook faces scrutiny over its data collection following allegations that the political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica obtained data on tens of millions of Facebook users to try to influence elections. Walden is the committee’s Republican chairman and Pallone is the panel’s top Democrat.
“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,” Walden and Pallone said.
Their committee is the first of three congressional panels that requested Zuckerberg’s testimony to announce a hearing date. The Senate Commerce and Judiciary committees also have called for Zuckerberg to appear before them.
Walden and Pallone said last month that they wanted to hear directly from Zuckerberg after senior Facebook executives failed to answers questions during a closed-door briefing with congressional staff about how Facebook and third-party developers use and protect consumer data.
Zuckerberg said during a March 21 interview on CNN that he would be “happy” to testify before Congress, but only if he was the right person to do that. He said there might be other Facebook officials better positioned to appear, depending on what Congress wanted to know. Walden and Pallone said a day later that as Facebook’s top executive, Zuckerberg is indeed the “right witness to provide answers to the American people.”
Their call represented the first official request from a congressional oversight committee for Zuckerberg’s appearance as lawmakers demanded that Facebook explain…