Facebook founder and chief executive officer Mark Zuckerberg will strike an apologetic tone when he appears before Congress this week, expressing contrition for the website’s oversight of user data and its role in the 2016 election.
In testimony at a joint hearing of the Senate Judiciary and Commerce committees on Tuesday and before a House committee on Wednesday, the famously aloof social media executive will take responsibility for failing to handle its civic duties with more care.
“It’s clear now that we didn’t do enough to prevent these tools from being used for harm … That goes for fake news, foreign interference in elections, and hate speech, as well as developers and data privacy,” he will say, according to advance testimony to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce released Monday. “We didn’t take a broad enough view of our responsibility, and that was a big mistake. It was my mistake, and I’m sorry. I started Facebook, I run it, and I’m responsible for what happens here.”
The hearings come several weeks after it was reported that Cambridge Analytica, a data-mining firm linked to President Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, had improperly stored the private information of tens of millions of users.
The Cambridge Analytica scandal is only the latest to besiege the social media giant in the wake of the 2016 presidential election. Last fall, a senior Facebook executive (alongside representatives from Google and Twitter) admitted before a congressional hearing that Russian actors had exploited advertising and networking social media tools to “sow division and discord” in the American political conversation both before and after the 2016 election.
Zuckerberg has since faced loud and…