Grassley Prepares For Congressional Hearing On Facebook, Data Privacy

Apr 9, 2018

Facebook executive Mark Zuckerberg will have to answer to members of Congress this week about the company’s management of user data. He's slated to testify before a joint meeting of the Senate Judiciary and Commerce Committees on Tuesday, and the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Wednesday. Here's some insight on what Iowa’s senior senator wants to hear.

U.S. Senator and Chair of the Judiciary Committee Chuck Grassley (R - IA).
Credit Gage Skidmore via flickr creative commons / https://www.flickr.com/photos/gageskidmore/17649805888/

Lawmakers are expected to ask how political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica was able to secretly harvest the data of 87 million Facebook users, mostly without their knowledge. The social media site continues to face scrutiny for serving as a platform for Russian interference in the 2016 election.

U.S. Senator and Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley said he expects the questioning will focus on two main issues.

“What are they going to do to make sure that their product is not used by some foreign country to interfere with our elections? And number two, to what extent are you going to make sure people’s privacy is protected?” he asked.

And Grassley wants to know if the data generated by user profiles, likes and comments is for sale.

“Are you going to honor people that say that they don’t want what you put on Facebook to be used for commercial purposes?” he asked.

Zuckerberg is the sole witness before both the Senate meeting and House meetings, but Grassley has voiced concerns about other social media networks as well.

"Everybody worries about what the government might know about you. You better worry more about what Google and Facebook and Twitter knows about you," He said. "Cause they know a lot more about you than the federal government knows about you."

Zuckerberg's prepared comments for the April 11th meeting before House lawmakers have been released online.