Zuckerberg to apologize to Congress


Associated Press

WASHINGTON

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has already apologized to users for not doing enough to protect their privacy. Now he plans to apologize to Congress, saying in prepared testimony that Facebook hasn’t done enough to prevent its tools from being used for harm.

Zuckerberg’s written statement was released ahead of two days of congressional hearings in which he will not only try to restore public trust in his company but also stave off federal regulation that some lawmakers have floated. His company is under fire in the worst privacy crisis in its history after it was revealed that Cambridge Analytica, a data-mining firm affiliated with Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, gathered personal information from 87 million users to try to influence elections.

In the testimony released by the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which he is expected to deliver Wednesday, Zuckerberg apologizes for fake news, hate speech, a lack of data privacy and foreign interference in the 2016 elections on his platform.

“We didn’t take a broad enough view of our responsibility, and that was a big mistake,” he says in the remarks. “It was my mistake, and I’m sorry. I started Facebook, I run it, and I’m responsible for what happens here.”

Zuckerberg will testify before a joint hearing of the Senate Judiciary and Commerce Committees today and before the House panel on Wednesday. On Monday, he met privately with the leaders of the Senate committees.

After resisting previous calls to testify, Zuckerberg agreed to come to Capitol Hill this month after reports surfaced – and the company confirmed – that Cambridge Analytica had gathered Facebook users’ data. In the remarks, Zuckerberg said his company has a responsibility to make sure what happened with Cambridge Analytica doesn’t happen again.

Zuckerberg is also expected to be asked about Russia’s use of U.S. social media during the 2016 elections – a subject of several congressional investigations and special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian interference.

In the statement, Zuckerberg addresses Russian election interference and acknowledges, as he has in the past, that the company was too slow to respond and that it’s “working hard to get better.” The company has said that as many as 146 million people may have received information from a Russian agency that’s accused of orchestrating much of the cyber meddling in the election.

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