Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has agreed to testify before the Senate Judiciary and Commerce Committees during a joint hearing April 10.
That sought-after dialogue between key figures in the public sector and private sector will come just a day before Zuckerberg is set to speak to the House Energy and Commerce Committee, the date and time of which was also recently finalized.
“Facebook now plays a critical role in many social relationships, informing Americans about current events, and pitching everything from products to political candidates,” said Republican Sen. John Thune of South Dakota, the chairman of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee. “Our joint hearing will be a public conversation with the CEO of this powerful and influential company about his vision for addressing problems that have generated significant concern about Facebook’s role in our democracy, bad actors using the platform, and user privacy.”
Those ostensible problems include manipulators of the platform, some more nefarious than others, who wish to use the available features for endeavors not pursuant to Zuckerberg’s desire to encourage the creation of fruitful communities. What can be done — whether internally through Facebook or externally through regulations — to stop the exploitation of people’s data and ensure privacy protections will surely be discussed during the aforementioned hearings.
“Social media has revolutionized the way we communicate, using data to connect people from around the world,” said Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, a longtime Republican from Iowa. “With all of the data exchanged over Facebook and other platforms, users deserve to know how their information is shared and secured. This hearing will explore approaches to privacy that satisfy consumer expectations while encouraging innovation.”
Zuckerberg originally seemed somewhat reluctant to travel to Washington, D.C., for congressional hearings, saying that while he’s willing, he wasn’t sure if he was the right person to represent the company. (RELATED: At Least Two Congressmen Set To Question Zuckerberg Own Facebook Stock)
Nevertheless, regardless of what Congress and the public explicitly want of Zuckerberg and his company, it will likely be a “multi-year effort,” according to the business wunderkind himself.
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