- Senators are still calling for Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to come to Congress and testify about how Facebook will protect its users’ data.
- After Zuckerberg posted a long-awaited statement on the Cambridge Analytica (CA) scandal, Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) tweeted: “You need to come to Congress and testify to this under oath.”
- A source tells Business Insider that people in Capitol Hill do not believe that Silicon Valley is taking their privacy responsibilities seriously.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg broke his silence on Wednesday on the Cambridge Analytica (CA) scandal with a statement explaining how CA obtained data on 50 million Facebook users, as well as a list of promised fixes.
But the lawmakers who have been calling for Zuckerberg to appear before Congress and testify are still not satisfied.
Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) read Zuckerberg’s Facebook post and immediately tweeted, “You need to come to Congress and testify to this under oath.”
The scandal centres on the British data company Cambridge Analytica, which has ties to Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and which illicitly obtained information from as many as 50 million Facebook profiles by abusing Facebook’s data-sharing features. Though the story broke over the weekend, Zuckerberg did not respond until Wednesday.
Other senators are clearly thinking similarly to Markey, too. “The steps Facebook has laid out to protect its users are a start but Zuckerberg still needs to come testify,” tweeted Sen. Klobuchar, a democrat from Minnesota. And, as Axios reports, Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) called Zuckerberg’s statement a “very superficial mea culpa” in a radio interview.
Even before Zuckerberg’s statement, some senators had already demanded earlier this week that Zuckerberg himself come to the Hill and talk to them under oath. This included Sen. Kombuchar, as well as Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR).
The revelations of how CA obtained Facebook data has already sparked multiple investigations, amid renewed calls to regulate Facebook and possibly companies like it. The Federal Trade Commission is now investigating the matter, as are the attorney generals in New York and Massachusetts.Investigations have also been launched in Europe.
This isn’t the first time Facebook has been called to Capitol Hill over how its platform was used in the 2016 election, either. Last year, attorneys from Facebook, Google, and Twitter testified to Congress on misinformation and the fake news problem. Following their testimony, Facebook and Twitter both admitted then that Russian-connected disinformation was a bigger problem on their platforms than they had initially reported.
Now, in the matter of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook will have to contend with the fact that most lawmakers don’t think that the social network is really committed to change.
As one Silicon Valley executive who works with policy makers in Washington told Business Insider: “These [internet] companies get dragged in front of Congress and their leaders don’t show up? Don’t think for a second lawmakers don’t notice that. It’s a sentiment in DC that the Valley is not taking this problem seriously.”
As for consumers: You should know that, although the #deletefacebook hashtag has been trending as these stories broke, deleting Facebook doesn’t automatically stop the social network from storing your data.