Mark Zuckerberg said Facebook is 'open' to testifying before Congress -- but he'd prefer someone else does it

Facebook CEO and chairman Mark Zuckerberg. Photo: Rodrigo Buendia/ AFP/ Getty Images.
  • Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said he’s “open” to testifying in front of Congress about the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
  • But Zuckerberg said it’s better if someone else from Facebook testifies as there are employees who are more “focused” on the issue.
  • Zuckerberg has avoided personally testifying before Congress before, instead sending Facebook’s general counsel.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a new interview with Recode on Wednesday that he’s “open” to personally testifying in front of Congress about the company’s Cambridge Analytica scandal.

Zuckerberg has faced growing political pressure to personally appear before Congress and answer questions about how Cambridge Analytica was able to harvest data on 50 million Facebook users.

Facebook’s CEO broke his silence on Wednesday and posted an explanation on his site about what happened, and the company’s next steps. Senator Ed Markey saw the post and tweeted: “You need to come to Congress and testify to this under oath.”

Recode asked Zuckerberg whether he was prepared to give evidence to Congress. “You know, I’m open to doing that,” Zuckerberg said.

He continued: “We actually do this fairly regularly, right? There are high profile ones like the Russian investigation, but there are lots of different topics that Congress needs and wants to know about. And the way that we approach it, is that our responsibility is to make sure that they have access to all the information that they need to have. So, I’m open to doing it.”

Interviewer Kara Swisher pushed Zuckerberg on whether being “open” to testifying was a yes or no to actually doing it. She noted that “they want you, Mark.”

“Well look, I am not 100% sure that’s right,” Zuckerberg replied. “But the point of congressional testimony is to make sure that Congress gets the data in the information context that they need.

“Typically, there is someone at Facebook whose full-time job is going to be focused on whatever the area is. Whether it’s legal compliance, or security. So, I think most the time if what they’re really focused on is getting access to the person who is going to be most knowledgeable on that thing, there will be someone better.

“But I’m sure that someday, there will be a topic that I am the person who has the most knowledge on it, and I would be happy to do it then.”

And Zuckerberg was also asked about testifying in front of Congress in an interview with CNN. “So, the short answer is I’m happy to, if it’s the right thing to do,” he said.

“Facebook testifies in Congress regularly on a number of topics, some high profile and some not. And our objective is always to provide Congress, who does an extremely important job, to have the most information that they can.”

“We see a small slice of activity on Facebook, but Congress gets to have access to the information across Facebook and all other companies and the intelligence community and everything. So 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 whole job is focused on an area, but I would imagine at some point that there would be a topic where I am the sole authority on and that would make sense for me to do and I’ll be happy to do it at that point.”

Zuckerberg has previously avoided personally appearing before Congress, and instead sent other employees. ;General counsel Colin Stretch testified for Facebook in two hearings about US election interference in November, for example.

The Facebook CEO hasn’t publicly responded to a request to give evidence to the UK Parliament’s Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, which sent Zuckerberg a letter on March 20 asking him to appear before it.

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