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Mark Zuckerberg Asked to Testify Before Senate Judiciary Committee About Facebook User Data Policies

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, in his first public statement on the scandal engulfing the company, says the social network must "step up" and do more to protect user data
AFP

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been asked to testify before a second panel of U.S. lawmakers, this time the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The Independent reports that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been called to testify before a second panel of U.S. lawmakers in Congress about the social media giant’s latest user data scandal. The Senate Judiciary Committee urged Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA), who chairs the committee, to call on Zuckerberg to testify about the recent alleged misuse of 50 million Facebook users’ data. Grassley confirmed that he asked the Facebook CEO to testify at an upcoming hearing relating to data privacy that would examine “the protection and monitoring of consumer data.”

The full press release from Grassley’s website reads:

 The Senate Judiciary Committee, chaired by Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, will hold a hearing on data privacy on April 10, 2018.

Grassley today invited Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to testify at the hearing to discuss Facebook’s past and future policies regarding the protection and monitoring of consumer data.

The hearing will broadly cover privacy standards for the collection, retention and dissemination of consumer data for commercial use. It will also examine how such data may be misused or improperly transferred and what steps companies like Facebook can take to better protect personal information of users and ensure more transparency in the process.

Grassley also invited Google CEO Sundar Pichai and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to discuss the future of data privacy in the social media industry and how to develop “rules of the road” that encourage companies to develop tailored approaches to privacy that satisfy consumer expectations while maintaining incentives for innovation.

This is the second group to call on Zuckerberg to testify before Congress. Key congressional lawmakers from the House Energy and Commerce Committee, a group that oversees the actions of companies such as Facebook and Google, requested that Zuckerberg appear before them to testify in a formal hearing recently. The chairman of the committee, Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR) and the committee’s head Democrat representative, Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (D-NJ), said in a statement:

The latest revelations regarding Facebook’s use and security of user data raises many serious consumer protection concern. After committee staff received a briefing yesterday from Facebook officials, we felt that many questions were left unanswered. Mr. Zuckerberg has stated that he would be willing to testify if he is ‘the right person.’

We believe, as CEO of Facebook, he is the right witness to provide answers to the American people. We look forward to working with Facebook and Mr. Zuckerberg to determine a date and time in the near future for a hearing before this committee.

Facebook is now also facing scrutiny from the Federal Trade Commission. The FTC recently stated that they are investigating the social media companies internal user privacy practices. Tom Pahl, Acting Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, released a statement on their investigation saying:

The FTC is firmly and fully committed to using all of its tools to protect the privacy of consumers. Foremost among these tools is enforcement action against companies that fail to honor their privacy promises, including to comply with Privacy Shield, or that engage in unfair acts that cause substantial injury to consumers in violation of the FTC Act. Companies who have settled previous FTC actions must also comply with FTC order provisions imposing privacy and data security requirements. Accordingly, the FTC takes very seriously recent press reports raising substantial concerns about the privacy practices of Facebook. Today, the FTC is confirming that it has an open non-public investigation into these practices.

When asked would he be willing to testify before Congress about Facebook’s latest scandal, Zuckerberg stated, “I’m open to doing that. We actually do this fairly regularly … There are lots of different topics that Congress needs and wants to know about, and the way that we approach it is that our responsibility is to make sure that they have access to all of the information that they need to have.” But Zuckerberg did hedge this offer by saying, “the short answer is, I’m happy to if it’s the right thing to do”

Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan or email him at lnolan@breitbart.com

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