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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to testify before Senate, House committees

The testimony will be Zuckerberg's first before the U.S. government.
Image: Facebook holds annual F8 developers conference in San Jose, California
Facebook Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks at the annual Facebook developers conference in San Jose, California, in 2017.Stephen Lam / Reuters file

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg will testify before the Senate Judiciary and Commerce Committees as well and the House Energy and Commerce Committee on April 10 and 11 respectively, the committees announced Wednesday.

The public testimony will be Zuckerberg's first before the U.S. government and comes after Facebook has been the subject of broad criticism and numerous legal inquiries over how the user information of as many as 87 million Facebook users ended up in the possession of a data-analysis firm that worked with President Donald Trump's election campaign.

“This hearing will be an important opportunity to shed light on critical consumer data privacy issues and help all Americans better understand what happens to their personal information online," Reps. Greg Walden, R-Ore., and Frank Pallone Jr., D-N.J., said in a statement.

Zuckerberg’s testimony before the Senate committees is scheduled for 2:15 p.m. ET on Tuesday. His testifimony before the House committee will begin at 10 a.m. on Wednesday and will touch on how the company uses and how it protects user data.

Zuckerberg had said in recent interviews that he was “open” to testifying in relation to questions over how Cambridge Analytica, a U.K.-based data analysis firm, was able to acquire the user data of 50 million Facebook users.

That controversy has opened a wider debate about the responsibility that tech companies have to ensure the privacy of their users. Facebook had previously allowed other apps to scrape data of users that opted into their services, and also scrape the data of friends of those users who had not opted in.

Facebook and Zuckerberg have since launched an apology tour that has included numerous interviews and full-page newspaper ads.