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On Mark Zuckerberg's apology tour, he says he's 'open' to testifying before Congress

Six days after news broke of Cambridge Analytica's data harvesting, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is breaking his silence.
Image: Mark Zuckerberg Delivers Keynote Address At Facebook F8 Conference
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg delivers the keynote address at Facebook's F8 Developer Conference on April 18, 2017 in San Jose, California.Justin Sullivan / Getty Images file

Dealing with the fallout from allegations that Facebook enabled a data analytics firm to surreptitiously collect personal information from 50 million users, CEO Mark Zuckerberg has signaled he is open to regulation and willing to testify before Congress.

"The short answer is I'm happy to if it's the right thing to do," Zuckerberg told CNN in an interview. "What we try to do is send the person at Facebook who will have the most knowledge. If that's me, then I am happy to go."

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On the sixth day after the data analytics firm Cambridge Analytica was suspended by Facebook, Zuckerberg broke his silence in a post on the social network Wednesday afternoon. He followed that up with a media blitz, speaking to CNN, Recode, Wired and The New York Times.

"We let the community down, and I feel really bad and I’m sorry about that," he told Recode.

Facebook breached user trust with its loose handling of data in the past and was now dealing with the consequences, Zuckerberg conceded in interviews. The company was now ready to regain that trust by limiting what data developers can access and by building a tool to let people know if someone may be collecting data on them, he said.

With big tech facing increasing calls for regulation, Zuckerberg told CNN he "is not sure we shouldn’t be regulated," but said "the question is more, 'What is the right regulation?'"

He expressed support for more regulation when it comes to online advertising. Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., is currently sponsoring a bill that would hold online political advertisements to tougher standards, such as requiring social media companies to maintain public records for election ads and requiring those ads to include the same disclaimers seen in broadcast and print election ads.

When asked by Wired whether Facebook data may have gotten into the hands of Russian trolls or other groups that researchers may not yet be aware of, Zuckerberg said he wasn't sure.

"I can’t really say that," he said. "I hope that we will know that more certainly after we do an audit."

Zuckerberg's media blitz, including his one televised interview, drew some criticism for sounding like a regurgitated version of the message he posted on his Facebook wall on Wednesday afternoon.

Zuckerberg had drawn criticism for not speaking out sooner.

Over the past few days, Facebook has raised questions from regulators over its privacy practices and taken a beating in the stock market. The barrage has caused some privacy activists and Facebook users to call for people to delete their accounts.