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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg To Testify In Congress Next Month


Facebook is trying to contain the damage caused by news that millions of users' data was shared without their knowledge or consent. Yesterday, the social media giant announced it would make it easier for users to control privacy settings and that it would prevent advertisers from using brokers to access user data. All of this is on the heels of news that CEO Mark Zuckerberg will testify in Congress next month. I want to bring in Congressman Mike Quigley of Illinois. He's a Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, and he joins us. Congressman, good morning.

MIKE QUIGLEY: Good morning. Thanks for having me on.

GREENE: Thanks for coming on. Do you like the moves Facebook has made in the past few days? Are they addressing your concerns with the company?

QUIGLEY: Well, it's a start. Let's remember this - the first time they appeared before Congress on this issue was last November where Facebook, Twitter and Google, they all acknowledged that far more extensive forensic investigation is needed to determine the full extent of Russia's weaponization of social media. We haven't heard back to them yet on that, and that is potentially even more important than this. So I get damage control because it's important to their bottom line, but there are a lot of questions to answer about what happened in 2016 and, frankly, the years preceding leading up to this.

GREENE: Oh, so you're not just interested in Cambridge Analytica. You want to bring Mark Zuckerberg in and ask him about Russia, about - I mean, everything.

QUIGLEY: Well, sure. And, look, we had - we had Alexander Nix via audio-video hookup instead of having him in. And he was not candid at all.

GREENE: From Cambridge Analytica, right?

QUIGLEY: That's right. He was asked - has Cambridge Analytica acquired bulk data through Facebook? Mr. Nix - no, it has not. Question - did Cambridge Analytica use any other third party data that was not purchased? As far as I'm aware, it did not.

It's another example of why we need to continue the investigation at the House and Senate level and in addition to the Mueller investigation, shutting it down.

GREENE: Well, can I just ask, what do you expect to hear from Mark Zuckerberg, I mean, himself? Is there something specific that he's going to provide, or is a lot of this - is there value in just having the CEO there and demonstrating, you know, the role that you and lawmakers play in accountability, saying, you know, if there are questions, you need to be here yourself, the CEO, answer something?

QUIGLEY: That's right because he wasn't there November 1 of 2017, neither were the commissioner heads of Twitter and Google as we went forward. There's a lot of questions they need to ask - they need to answer. How did this happen? Why did you take so long to communicate this? How do we know if all this data has truly been destroyed? How will you prevent this in the future? Who else was involved? And, oh, by the way, why did you imbed Facebook workers in the San Antonio social media campaign for President Trump? What did you know when that took place? And did you still embed workers with Cambridge Analytica as they did this multi-multimillion-dollar operation?

GREENE: I just wonder, have you closed your own Facebook account in the midst of all this?

QUIGLEY: Well, I use Facebook through my official role, and we have not. It continues to be an important platform, and I'm sure millions of Americans will continue to use it. I think Facebook is on the front page because there's such a direct connection. But to a lesser extent, all of the social media platforms have to understand what's taking place. The weaponization of social media is going to take their concerted effort on an ongoing basis, as well (unintelligible).

GREENE: Congressman, sadly, there's so much more to talk about, but we're out of time this morning. Congressman Mike Quigley, Illinois Democrat, talking to us about Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg testifying probably next month. Thanks a lot, Congressmen.

QUIGLEY: Thank you. Take care. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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