Facebook Inc. founder, Chairman and CEO Mark Zuckerberg will testify in the coming weeks on data privacy and address recent concerns regarding how the social media platform's user data is handled, unnamed sources told CNN.
Zuckerberg's representatives earlier said he will not testify before British lawmakers for a similar inquiry into the alleged misuse of Facebook's user data by London-based political data analytics firm Cambridge Analytica LLC and other third parties. Instead, the company will send either Facebook Chief Technology Officer Mike Schroepfer or Chief Product Officer Chris Cox to give evidence before the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee of the House of Commons, Rebecca Stimson, head of public policy for Facebook UK, told committee chair Damian Collins in a letter.
Stimson said Schroepfer and Cox are "well placed" to answer the committee's questions on the scandal, given their "extensive expertise in these issues." In response, Collins said the lawmakers still wanted to speak to Zuckerberg in person or via video link, Reuters reported.
CNN's sources indicated that the intense political and public scrutiny of Zuckerberg's response to the Cambridge Analytica data scandal led the executive to decide to testify before Congress. U.S. Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, invited Zuckerberg as well as Jack Dorsey, the CEO of Twitter Inc. and Sundar Pichai, the CEO of Alphabet Inc. unit Google Inc., to testify at the April 10 hearing to discuss "the future of data privacy in the social media industry."
Bipartisan leaders of the Energy and Commerce Committee at the U.S. House of Representatives, which has jurisdiction over consumer protection and data security, also want Zuckerberg to testify before the committee over the data misuse scandal. The Facebook executive earlier said he is prepared to testify "if it is the right thing to do."
Zuckerberg has admitted that Facebook made mistakes regarding user privacy and outlined the steps it plans to take to restore users' trust. These include having more transparency about apps with access to user data and more limitations on how much of that data is accessible to app developers, and how long those developers can access it.
Facebook had suspended the accounts of Cambridge Analytica and its parent company Strategic Communication Laboratories, as well as Christopher Wylie of Eunoia Technologies, for violating the platform's personal data policies. The company said it learned that data voluntarily provided to a personality test app created by University of Cambridge Professor Aleksandr Kogan had been improperly passed on to third parties including Cambridge Analytica.
British privacy regulators have been seeking a warrant to examine Cambridge Analytica's servers as part of a "complex and far-reaching" investigation into the scandal. The European Parliament and the U.S. Federal Trade Commission are also planning to probe into the matter.
Shares of Facebook have lost roughly 16% since the company disclosed that it had suspended the accounts of Cambridge Analytica and others for violating its user data policies. The stock was down another 2.6% for the day as of about 1:15 p.m. ET, trading at $155.85.