Facebook’s Zuckerberg to testify in House next week amid data row

Facebook's Zuckerberg to testify in House next week amid data row

April 4 (UPI) — Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg will testify in the House next week to answer questions about how the social networking site protects user data.

Zuckerberg will be asked about the personal data of nearly 50 million Facebook users that was used by analytics company Cambridge Analytica to post political advertisements for President Donald Trump.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee said in a statement Wednesday Zuckerberg will testify April 11.

“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,” Reps. Greg Walden of Oregon and Frank Pallone of New Jersey said in a joint statement. “We appreciate Mr. Zuckerberg’s willingness to testify before the committee, and we look forward to him answering our questions.”

Zuckerberg, 33, has also been asked to testify at hearings by the Senate’s judiciary and commerce committees, but it’s unclear if any testimony has been scheduled.

Amid the Cambridge Analytica matter, Zuckerberg said Tuesday Facebook has removed more than 270 pages and accounts operated by the Internet Research Agency — a Russian company with purported ties to Kremlin intelligence services.

“Most of our actions against the IRA to date have been to prevent them from interfering in foreign elections. This update is about taking down their pages targeting people living in Russia,” Zuckerberg wrote in a Facebook post.

“This Russian agency has repeatedly acted deceptively and tried to manipulate people in the U.S., Europe, and Russia — and we don’t want them on Facebook anywhere in the world.”

Alex Stamos, Facebook’s chief security officer, said 95 percent of the removed pages were in Russian and targeted either people living in Russia or Russian speakers around the world.

“The IRA has repeatedly used complex networks of inauthentic accounts to deceive and manipulate people who use Facebook, including before, during and after the 2016 U.S. presidential elections,” Stamos said in a statement. “It’s why we don’t want them on Facebook.”

Last week, Facebook unveiled changes to its privacy settings to make it easier for users to control what they share, and allow them to delete collected data.

Facebook and Cambridge Analytica are facing a class-action lawsuit and the Federal Trade Commission is planning an investigation.