Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg Testifies Before Congress

WASHINGTON — Mark Zuckerberg’s moment in the hot seat on Capitol Hill has arrived.

The Facebook CEO is set to testify for the first time before Congress, starting with an appearance Tuesday afternoon at a joint hearing of the Senate Judiciary and Commerce committees. He will testify again on Wednesday before the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

The Congressional hearings are in response to news that Cambridge Analytica, a data firm with ties to President Donald Trump’s campaign, accessed information from as many as 87 million Facebook users without their knowledge.

“I’m going to testify in front of the Senate about how Facebook needs to take a broader view of our responsibility — not just to build tools, but to make sure those tools are used for good,” Zuckerberg wrote in a Facebook post before his testimony Tuesday.

The data scandal wiped away tens of billions of dollars from Facebook’s market value, prompted political scrutiny on both sides of the Atlantic and even raised the once unthinkable question of whether Zuckerberg should step down as CEO. It also reignited long simmering concerns about Facebook’s impact on the world’s privacy, civil discourse and domestic institutions.

“It’s clear now that we didn’t do enough to prevent these tools from being used for harm as well. That goes for fake news, foreign interference in elections, and hate speech, as well as developers and data privacy,” Zuckerberg said in remarks prepared for Wednesday’s hearing.

Related: Was your Facebook data shared with Cambridge Analytica? You can now find out

“We didn’t take a broad enough view of our responsibility, and that was a big mistake. It was my mistake, and I’m sorry. I started Facebook, I run it, and I’m responsible for what happens here.”

In the days leading up to the hearings, Facebook released a torrent of product and policy updates to address concerns about data privacy and election meddling. Zuckerberg, once press shy, also launched an apology tour as part of a rare media blitz.

Behind the scenes, Zuckerberg and his team did mock hearings over the past week in a conference room at Facebook set up to look like a congressional hearing room. Zuckerberg plans to be contrite in his appearances before lawmakers. He will make the case for Facebook — why it helps people’s lives — but be ready to push back when appropriate.

“He’s nervous, but he’s really confident,” the source said. “He’s a smart guy.”

7 comments

  • Rusty Knyffe

    Watching Zuckerberg’s testimony to the Commerce and Judiciary Committees was, quite actually, wildly entertaining and a very clear symptom of millennialitis. As a strict aside, I have never seen an animated wax figure before, and Zuckercreep looked just like Data from the Star Trek: Next Generation series. If he’d had the contacts in, he would have been a dead ringer for the android. The only time that color rose in his otherwise extraordinary waxy face was when he wasn’t able to explain himself or his company’s actions.

    What Zuckerjerk did to himself and his corporation was to grow faster than people were able to learn about the technological/digital means of communication, and to assume that the “older generation” was too ignorant to pick apart the glaring evidence that FB and its corporate stooges were involved in some very, very shady practices. The Senators on both sides of the aisle were astute, knowledgeable, and utterly brilliant as Zuckerbarf consistently tried to avoid direct yes/no questions and, instead, dazzle the committees full of “old” men and women who have been involved in lawmaking for decades with absolute bullsh*t.

    I thoroughly applaud most members of both committees for setting aside their party rhetoric and getting down to the brass tacks of dismantling Zuckerpig’s testimony. Good job, ladies and gentlemen, and I hope that Facebook and Zuckerblah experience exquisite consequences for everything that they were all culpable to.

  • Silverfish Imperetrix

    It’s funny how nobody complained when Schmuckerberg willingly cooperated with the 2012 Obama campaign, freely giving them data.

    • Am Light

      When I approached people about what was going on during the campaigns via FB, those people all laughed in my face – actually laughed in my face – and replied that they couldn’t be influenced by social media. Of course, this was prior to the Twitter explosion when that platform became a “reliable” source of news and information.

      I won’t have any profiles, thanks. Nobody needs to know what I’m doing, nor does anyone really care.

      • Rusty Knyffe

        That is because people are addicted to the malignant narcissism that FB and all other social media seems to feed. They cannot imagine life without the ability to show their “friends” what they’ve just ordered or generate pity for their current catastrophic experiences. Shut them ALL down because they are mental cancer.

  • Michele Wasylyk

    Facebook is a joke. All it is is a place for people to rant about stupid stuff and air their dirty laundry. All social media is a joke. It’s filled with all kinds of nasty stuff. They all need to disappear.

    • Am Light

      Yes, I agree. Facebook is a platform for people to indulge their narcissism.

      For those people who claim that Facebook is “the only way” that they can keep in touch with friends and family or remain in their granchildren’s social loop, I pity those people because if a family member can’t take the time to send an email, write an actual posted letter, or make a phone call, then they don’t care about that person, at all. It is not “communicating” to read someone’s post about what they’re doing, how they’re feeling, what they believe, or what they just had for lunch. That’s voyeurism, not communication.

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