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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has reportedly decided to testify before Congress, according to a new report on Tuesday.
Sources at Facebook told CNNMoney that Zuckerberg has “come to terms” with the fact that he will need to testify within a few weeks. In the wake of the Cambridge Analytica data scandal, there has been intense pressure on the 33-year-old executive to do so.
According to CNN’s sources, the social media company is currently preparing the strategy for Zuckerberg’s congressional testimony. The sources also say that Zuckerberg’s decision to testify may prompt other major social media executives to do the same — including Google’s Sundar Pichai and Twitter’s Jack Dorsey.
Senator Chuck Grassley, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has already been invited the three chief executives a data privacy hearing on April 10, CNN reported.
Similarly, Zuckerberg has reportedly turned down a request to testify before British lawmakers — instead, Facebook will send two officials in his place. Essentially, that means that arguably the most high-profile trial of big tech will happen in Washington, and not London.
Earlier this month, The New York Times and The Guardian reported that a political consultancy firm named Cambridge Analytica had harvested data from about 50 million Facebook profiles without their knowledge or approval.
Cambridge Analytica had worked with the Trump campaign in 2016. And despite claims to the contrary, there’s evidence to suggest that some of the firm’s data was actually used for targeted advertising in the U.S. and UK in recent election cycles, Reuters reported.
Facebook later suspended Cambridge Analytic and its parent company from its platform. But big questions remain about the company’s role in the scandal — including whether it did enough to prevent or stop the data collection.
Previously, Zuckerberg told CNN’s Laurie Segall that he’d be “happy” to testify if it’s the “right thing to do.” Specifically, Zuckerberg pointed out that Facebook usually sends employees who are more well-versed in the details of specific areas of the platform.
In addition to testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Bloomberg reported that Zuckerberg is also expected to appear before the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee on April 12.
But Zuckerberg’s testimonies will likely only be a small part of the effort needed for the firm to restore public trust in its data privacy policies.