Mark Zuckerberg Says He's "Happy" to Testify Before Congress
On Wednesday, Mark Zuckerberg broke his silence on the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Speaking to CNN, the Facebook CEO said he would be happy to testify before Congress — something he has not done amid Facebook’s various public scandals — if, as he put it, “it’s the right thing to do.”
Zuckerberg landed in the hot seat after news broke last week that a data analytics firm called Cambridge Analytica was sold the personal data of 50 million Facebook users to Donald Trump’s election team in 2016. Cambridge Analytica received the data via a personality test app that ran on Facebook and gathered personal information from anyone that used it — as well as their Facebook friends.
It’s the latest example of how Facebook’s goldmine of information on its users makes it an indispensable tool for political purposes, and it’s something Zuckerberg is being forced to reckon with as the public face of his company. But when it comes to actually testifying, Zuckerberg’s answer was nuanced, if not noncommittal. Facebook sends people to testify before Congress all the time, he told CNN’s Laurie Segall. “What we try to do is send the person at Facebook who will have the most knowledge about what Congress is trying to learn. So if that’s me, then I am happy to go.”
“What I think we’ve found so far is that typically there are people whose entire job is focused on an area,” he said in an interview at Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, California. “But I imagine at some point there will be a topic that I am the sole authority on and it will make sense for me to do it and I’ll be happy to do it at that point.”
When Segall countered that as the figurehead of Facebook, people want to see Zuckerberg answering questions on behalf of the brand, he countered her by saying that the goal of testifying before Congress is to provide knowledge on an issue. “That’s not a media opportunity, or at least it’s not supposed to be.”
On Wednesday, ABC reported that the special counsel investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 election also has its eye on the connection between Cambridge Analytica, the Trump Campaign, and Facebook’s ability to hand over vast amounts of data to third parties — intentionally or not. Whether he thinks its the right thing to do or not, Zuckerberg may find that there’s too many fingers pointing at Facebook to avoid Congressional testimony much longer.