WASHINGTON — Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg will strike a contrite tone when he appears before Congress this week, saying that “we didnt 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. We didnt take a broad enough view of our responsibility, and that was a big mistake,” Zuckerberg said in written testimony to the House energy and commerce committee, which will hear from him Wednesday. “It was my mistake, and Im sorry. I started Facebook, I run it and Im responsible for what happens here.”
Zuckerberg plans to address a range of issues, from the controversy surrounding Cambridge Analytica to Russian interference in the U.S. 2016 election. His first appearance will take place Tuesday afternoon before the Senate commerce and judiciary committees.
As he gears up for his multiple appearances in Congress, the CEO huddled with lawmakers Monday on Capitol Hill.
Zuckerberg, dressed in a suit instead of his usual gray T-shirt, ignored reporters questions as he headed into a meeting with Senator Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), the ranking member of the Senate commerce committee. He also plans to meet with the panels chairman, Senator John Thune (R-S.D.).
The CEO was accompanied by an entourage that included Joel Kaplan, Facebooks vice president of global public policy and a veteran of the George W. Bush administration, and Brian Rice, director of public policy for Facebook who previously worked for then-Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.).
Facebook has spent the past several days making a series of policy and design changes to contain the fallout from Cambridge Analytica scandal and criticism over Russian election meddling. The company announced Monday it will work with foundations to create an “independent election research commission” that will recruit academics and scholars to study the impact of social media on political elections and democracy.
“The goal is both to get the ideas of leading academics on how to address these issues as well as to hold us accountable for making sure we protect the integrity of these elections on Facebook,” Zuckerberg wrote in a Facebook post.
Facebooks problems intensified last month amid reports that it allowed Cambridge Analytica, which worked for President Donald Trumps campaign, to improperly obtain data on up to 87 million users via an academic researcher — and failed to ensure the information was deleted once the violation was discovered.