After declining a summons from a UK parliamentary committee that’s investigating how social media data is being used this morning, it appears that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg may end up finally going before Congress to testify amid a wave of privacy debacles, according to a report by CNN.
CNN reports that Zuckerberg has come to terms with the fact that he will have to testify, and that the testimony may come within a matter of weeks amid pressure from lawmakers, the media, and the public. The initial wave of this scandal began last week when it was revealed that Cambridge Analytica, a political consultancy, had acquired information on more than 50 million Facebook users via an app that accessed that information through the Facebook platform several years ago.
Last week, Zuckerberg said in one of several interviews that, “if it ever the case that I am the most informed person at Facebook in the best position to testify, I will happily do that.” Clearly, it appears that Congress wants the chief executive officer of the formerly-$500 billion advertising-driven business to be the one to do the explaining amid the increased fallout over the Cambridge Analytica debacle.
While Facebook is not unfamiliar with privacy snafus, this appeared to be one of the final straws, forcing Facebook CEO to issue a sort of non-apology-ish apology — as well as take out full page (in wildly not-very-engaging full text form, weirdly enough) ads in several major newspapers. Zuckerberg in particular has been a face absent in front of Congress, but it appears the pressure from this incident may be too much for the company to handle without getting his face out there in order to neutralize the fallout.
Facebook offered CTO Mike Schroepfer and chief product officer Chris Cox to meet with the UK committee this morning, but Zuckerberg again was absent there. Indeed, it was several days following the Cambridge Analytica reports that Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg made a formal statement in the form of Facebook posts, as well as a number of interviews with various media outlets to try to explain themselves out of the situation.
We reached out to Facebook for a comment and will update the post when we hear back.