Facebook Inc Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg returns to Capitol Hill for more questioning by lawmakers who have a rare chance to air grievances about the company directly to the head of the world’s largest social media network.
The internet magnate is scheduled to testify before the US House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee, a day after he appeared for nearly five hours before a US Senate hearing.
Zuckerberg, wearing a dark suit instead of his usual grey T-shirt, navigated through the first hearing without making any further promises to support new legislation or change how the social network does business, foiling attempts by senators to pin him down.
Investors were impressed with his initial performance. Shares in Facebook posted their biggest daily gain in nearly two years, closing up 4.5 per cent on Tuesday.
Facebook has been consumed by turmoil for nearly a month, since it came to light that millions of users’ personal information were wrongly harvested from the website by Cambridge Analytica, a political consultancy that has counted US President Donald Trump’s election campaign among its clients. The latest estimate of affected users is up to 87 million.
Patience with the social network had already worn thin among users, advertisers and investors after the company said last year that Russia used Facebook for years to try to sway US politics, an allegation Moscow denies.
Lawmakers have sought assurances that Facebook can effectively police itself, and few came away from hearing expressing confidence in the social network.
“I don’t want to vote to have to regulate Facebook, but by God, I will,” Republican Senator John Kennedy told Zuckerberg. “A lot of that depends on you.”
Zuckerberg deflected requests to support specific legislation. Pressed repeatedly by Democratic Senator Ed Markey to endorse a proposed law that would require companies to get people’s permission before sharing personal information, Zuckerberg agreed to further talks.
“In principle, I think that that makes sense, and the details matter and I look forward to having our team work with you on fleshing that out,” Zuckerberg said.