Mark Zuckerberg to Testify Before House Committee on April 11

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WASHINGTON—

Facebook
Inc.

founder and Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg will appear at a House committee hearing on April 11, lawmakers said Wednesday.

The hearing will be held by the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which oversees many telecommunications and internet policy issues. The hearing will focus on “the company’s use and protection of user data,” according to the announcement.

Facebook has been criticized over its handling of data after an analytics firm tied to the 2016 campaign of Donald Trump obtained Facebook data for as many as 50 million users.

“This hearing will be an important opportunity to shed light on critical consumer data-privacy issues and help all Americans better understand what happens to their personal information online,” Chairman Greg Walden (R., Ore.) and ranking member Frank Pallone Jr. (D., N.J.) said in a statement.

A Facebook spokesman confirmed Mr. Zuckerberg would appear and said conversations are continuing about other possible hearings. Mr. Zuckerberg is scheduled to hold a conference call with reporters Wednesday afternoon. Two Senate committees also are interested in having Mr. Zuckerberg appear.

The hearing has the potential to be a pivotal moment for the 14-year-old company at a time of mounting tension with regulators and lawmakers. It would mark Mr. Zuckerberg’s first public testimony before U.S. lawmakers.

The hearing is expected to place Mr. Zuckerberg in the kind of ​unpredictable spectacle he has largely avoided. His public appearances, in town hall gatherings with Facebook users or students or during his tour of America last year, are often tightly scripted. When he acknowledges shortcomings or criticism of Facebook in such settings, often there isn’t time for follow-up questions.

Last week, Mr. Zuckerberg declined to appear before a U.K. parliamentary committee seeking evidence on how companies acquire user data from Facebook, choosing to send a deputy instead, according to a letter from Facebook published by the parliamentary committee. The letter said either Mike Schroepfer, Facebook’s chief technology officer, or Chris Cox, the chief product officer, would appear before the committee soon.

Write to John McKinnon at john.mckinnon@wsj.com



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