Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg is reportedly planning to testify before Congress in the coming weeks on how it came to be that Cambridge Analytica, a political data firm and consultation agency, could obtain information about tens of millions of Facebook users. It is the latest development in the ongoing saga surrounding the Cambridge Analytica situation, with Zuckerberg having previously apologized for not doing a better job of securing people's data.
"We have a responsibility to protect your data, and if we can't then we don't deserve to serve you," wrote Zuckerberg. "I've been working to understand exactly what happened and how to make sure this doesn't happen again."
Zuckerberg has already acknowledged that Cambridge Analytica obtained the swath of data improperly. In what he deemed as a "mistake," Zuckerberg recently provided an expanded history of events involving researcher Aleksandr Kogan, and how he used a personality quiz app on Facebook to access user data and then share that information with Cambridge Analytica. Around 300,000 Facebook users installed the app, and by granting access to their contacts, the data mining reached an estimated 50 million users.
An explanation and apology is not enough. Members of Congress want Zuckerberg to share more about Facebook's privacy policies, as do lawmakers in Europe. As such, they have sent out invitations to Facebook to testify.
"The committee is continuing to work with Facebook to determine a day and time for Mr. Zuckerberg to testify," House Energy and Commerce committee spokeswoman Elena Hernandez told Reuters.
Part of the concern is that Cambridge Analytica was hired by Donald Trump's presidential campaign in 2016, and that the information it may have provided could have helped sway the election results. Whether or not it had any impact is up for debate (Cambridge Analytica denies it even shared the information), but either way, there is an Internet outrage over Facebook's failure to protect its user data. There is even a #DeleteFacbook campaign trending on Twitter, with Tesla founder Elon Musk among the higher profiles to participate—he deleted the Facebook pages for both Tesla and SpaceX.
Facebook is also under investigation by the US Federal and Trade Commission over the privacy scandal.
Thumbnail and Top Image Source: Flickr via Biran Solis