Zuckerberg Braces for 'Hard Questions'


Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Mark Zuckerberg expects "hard questions" from Congressional members when he appears in front of Congress Tuesday and Wednesday.

"We face a number of important issues around privacy, safety, and democracy, and you will rightfully have some hard questions for me to answer," Facebook's (ticker: FB) embattled CEO is expected to tell the House Committee on Energy and Commerce on Wednesday, according to a copy of his opening statement.

"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," Zuckerberg's statement goes on to say. "I started Facebook, I run it, and I'm responsible for what happens here."

Zuckerberg is also scheduled to appear tomorrow during a joint hearing of the Senate Judiciary and Commerce committees.

The conciliatory tone of Zuckerberg's opening remarks, which includes a brief history lesson of the company he co-founded in 2004 and several initiatives Facebook is working on to solve its recent privacy woes, is consistent with the company's damage-control campaign after days of silence.

Facebook was noticeably reluctant to discuss the breadth of the Cambridge Analytica data-harvesting conundrum before revealing in a blog post last week that the incident may affect up to 87 million users -- not 50 million, as originally reported.

During a tense conference call with reporters on April 4, Zuckerberg acknowledged it would take a multiyear effort to solve the company's security and privacy issues.

In the days leading to Zuckerberg's testimony tomorrow and Wednesday, Facebook has left little to chance. It announced a series of internal programs to shore up security and privacy, including changes to its advertising policies it says will make it harder for rogue operatives to set up fake accounts. On Monday, Facebook said it would seek researchers' help in preventing future election manipulation on its social media platform And, in an 11th-hour bid to further smooth matters, Zuckerberg met with Congressional members on Monday.

Much is at stake: The tech industry is closely watching Zuckerberg's performance because he isn't the only one under scrutiny in Washington. Executives from Alphabet's Google (GOOGL) and Twitter (TWTR) could eventually be under the glare of Congressional questioning for their roles in the 2016 U.S. election as well.

"I realize the issues we're talking about today aren't just issues for Facebook and our community - they're challenges for all of us as Americans," Zuckerberg's statement concludes Wednesday.

Sign up to Review & Preview, a new daily email from Barron's. Every evening we'll review the news that moved markets during the day and look ahead to what it means for your portfolio in the morning.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

In This Story


Other Topics


Latest Technology Videos


    Barron's is a leading source of financial news, providing in-depth analysis and commentary on stocks, investments and how markets are moving across the world.

    Learn More