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Zuckerberg likely to testify to Congress over Cambridge Analytica

Facebook's CEO is leaning toward a trip to Capitol Hill, according to CNN and CBS News, in his latest effort to respond to the company's data privacy scandal.


Mark Zuckerberg initially resisted agreeing to testify to Congress, saying he preferred to send more knowledgeable people.

James Martin

Is Mr. Zuckerberg going to Washington?

That's the question facing 33-year-old Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who it appears is considering traveling to Capitol Hill to testify before Congress. A CNN report Tuesday, citing sources within the internet giant, said Zuckerberg had decided to attend at least one hearing. Meanwhile, a person familiar with the matter told CNET sister publication CBS News it's "likely" he will testify, but timing and other details still need to be worked out.

It's unclear when Zuckerberg's testimony might take place, though Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley invited Zuckerberg, along with Google CEO Sundar Pichai and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, to a hearing on data privacy scheduled for April 10. News reports suggested Zuckerberg might attend a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing on April 12, but a committee spokeswoman told CBS News his attendance hasn't been confirmed.

A Facebook spokesperson said the company received the invite, but declined to discuss whether Zuckerberg would attend. Spokespeople for Grassley's office and the Judiciary committee didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

The move marks the latest twist in the scandal involving Cambridge Analytica, a data analysis firm that's accused of improperly obtaining more than 50 million Facebook user profiles to use in political campaigns. While the misuse reportedly began when an app developer improperly sent the information to Cambridge Analytica, the ensuing scandal has engulfed Facebook and raised fears that the social media giant isn't doing enough to protect users' data.

The fallout has led regulators and lawmakers in both the US and UK, where Cambridge Analytica is based, to announce investigations. Consumer watchdog groups have come after the company too, with one, SumOfUs, calling on Zuckerberg to step down as CEO.

Zuckerberg, meanwhile, shifted from days of deafening silence last week to a full-on media blitz, complete with interviews with national and industry publications, television appearances and full-page newspaper ads.

Now he's facing demands to appear before lawmakers to answer questions directly. 

"The steps Facebook has laid out to protect its users are a start but Zuckerberg still needs to come testify," Senate Judiciary Committee member Amy Klobuchar tweeted last week. 

CNET's Alfred Ng contributed to this report.

First published March 27 at 9 a.m. PT.
Updates, 9:42 a.m.: Adds more reporting on whether Zuckerberg will testify; 10:17 a.m.: Adds more background; 11:30 a.m.: Includes details about Zuckerberg's additional possible planned appearances; 4:59 p.m.: Adds details of a watchdog group's demand that Zuckerberg step down as CEO.