If we had to guess, we’d be willing to venture that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg isn’t the most popular man in Parliament right about now.
After earlier confirming that he would send one of his top deputies to testify to British MPs, Facebook has apparently leaked to CNN that Zuckerberg will, in fact, make time to testify before lawmakers during the coming weeks.
Facebook is already plotting its strategy for the meeting and telling CNN that the pressure from the public (not to mention lawmakers desperately looking for a pariah) has become to intense, and the CEO wouldn’t risk rocking the boat.
CNN’s anonymous sources (presumably from within the Facebook comms department) believe Zuckerberg’s willingness to testify will also put pressure on Google CEO Sundar Pichai and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to join him. Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley has officially invited all three CEOs to a hearing on data privacy on April 10.
Zuckerberg’s decision means that Washington – not London – will be the site of the great public inquest into technology firms and their leveraging of sensitive user data for commercial purposes.
Facebook has been the subject of a powerful public backlash since reports surfaced two weeks ago that Cambridge Analytica, a data analytics firm that worked for the Trump campaign, improperly used data from more than 50 million Facebook users during its work for the Trump campaign – a charge Cambridge has denied. Facebook has apologized profusely and Zuckerberg has claimed Facebook was mislead by CA, which had told Facebook it had deleted the data.
The news follows reports that the FTC could assess damages against Facebook worth up to $2 trillion – essentially allowing the US government to take over the social media giant. That news sent Facebook shares lower in late-morning trading.
For the sake of the Facebook communications department, let’s hope Zuck does a better job of conveying remorse when he faces lawmakers than he did during last week’s widely panned CNN interview.
Otherwise, we’ll in for another one of these…