WASHINGTON - Congressional lawmakers have formally requested that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testify at an upcoming hearing in response to reports that a data analytics firm used by the Trump campaign had improperly accessed the names, "likes" and other personal information of about 50 million users on the social site.
The request officially came Thursday from the House Energy and Commerce Committee, a powerful panel that oversees Facebook and its tech peers, and arrives a day after Zuckerberg said he would be "happy" to appear on Capitol Hill to address lawmakers’ lingering questions about Facebook’s privacy protections.
"The latest revelations regarding Facebook’s use and security of user data raises many serious consumer protection concern," said Republican Rep. Greg Walden of Oregon, the panel’s chairman, and Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. of New Jersey, the committee’s top Democrat. "After committee staff received a briefing yesterday from Facebook officials, we felt that many questions were left unanswered."
"Mr. Zuckerberg has stated that he would be willing to testify if he is the right person,"" they added. "We believe, as CEO of Facebook, he is the right witness to provide answers to the American people. We look forward to working with Facebook and Mr. Zuckerberg to determine a date and time in the near future for a hearing before this committee."
A spokesman for Facebook did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.
Lawmakers have pilloried Facebook in response to the controversy with Cambridge Analytica, a firm that aided Trump and other Republican candidates by building psychological profiles of voters. To do that, the firm commissioned an app that, when installed, siphoned information about its users as well as their friends - a practice that Facebook had allowed for years.