It wasn't exactly a gilt-edged invitation, but the House Energy & Commerce Committee has officially requested the pleasure of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's company at an upcoming hearing to talk about Cambridge Analytica's Facebook data use specifically and the issue of data use and protection writ large.
Zuckerberg said this week he would be happy to testify if he were the right person. The committee's bipartisan leadership (the chairs and ranking members) immediately concluded he was, and has now sent him a letter of invitation.
They cited the "disturbing" allegations of deceptive data harvesting by a university professor of as many as 50 million Facebook users and questions about how Facebook enforces policies about access to user data, and what other entities might be similarly misusing information.
They said the committee would hold a hearing in "the near future" and that as the CEO of the company who has led it through all its strategic decisions since day one, "you are the right person to testify before Congress about those decision and the Facebook business model.
Senators from both parties also want Zuckerberg to testify on their side of Capitol Hill.
Signing on to the letter were Greg Walden (R-Ore.), chair of the committee; Frank Pallone (D-N.J.), ranking member; Robert Latta (R-Ohio), chair of the Digital Commerce Subcommittee; Janice Schakowsky (D-Ill.), ranking member of the subcommittee; Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), chair of the Communications Subcommittee, and Mike Doyle (D-Pa.), ranking member.
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Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.