Mark Zuckerberg braces for tough questions from Congress

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According to Reuters, the Facebook chief held a series of meetings with some USA lawmakers ahead of his multiple Capitol Hill appearances.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has acknowledged the failing of the social network company, issuing an apology in a statement.

In one update last week, Facebook upped the estimate for the number of people whose data may have been accessed by Cambridge Analytica and revealed that "most people on Facebook" may have had their public profile information scraped by malicious actors.

Zuckerberg will testify before the Senate Judiciary and Commerce committees Tuesday, and on Wednesday he'll be grilled by the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Zuckerberg faced growing calls to appear before the USA government in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica data misuse scandal, in which the personal information of an estimated 87 million users was allegedly exploited for targeted political profiling by a UK-based company claiming to have the power to influence elections.

That crisis has since snowballed into a broader scandal over Facebook's approach to privacy and use of user data, with the controversy heightened by the leak of a memo written by a company exec in which they defended growth at any cost, even if people died (Zuckerberg has since said he strongly disagreed with the memo). He faces further grilling from the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Wednesday.

Zuckerberg will also testify that the disinformation campaign run by the Internet Research Agency, a Russian "troll farm" that tried to manipulate people in the United States, Europe, and Russia, reached about 126 million people before Facebook shut it down.

"Facebook and our funding partners recognise the threat presented by the recent misuse of Facebook data, including by an academic associated with Cambridge Analytica", the blog post noted.

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Facebook Canada said notifications would start rolling out Monday, so it could be some time before people see the alert on their news feed.

Zuckerberg will try to reverse the backlash against the company when he opens two days of testimony in Congress. "I imagine that is going to cover a lot of ground", he said.

Zuckerberg has been summoned because of the unauthorized use of data harvested by British data firm Cambridge Analytica.

In a testimony released yesterday on the eve of his first Congressional appearance, Zuckerberg accepts responsibility for the social networks failure to protect private data of its 87 million users and prevent manipulation of the platform. Again, he'll explain what happened during the USA 2016 presidential election and how a Russia-led disinformation campaign used Facebook to sway opinions on a number of issues.

Paul Argenti, a professor of corporate communication at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth, says the numerous Facebook announcements are not doing the company any favors.

On Monday night, CNN reported that the biggest Black Lives Matter page on Facebook is fake, once again raising questions about the integrity of Facebook's platform.

Zuckerberg said the change will mean "we will hire thousands of more people" to get the new system in place ahead of USA midterm elections in November. But Brian Wieser of Pivotal Research said the entire digital advertising industry, of which Google and Facebook are the leaders, could be impacted by the scandal.

Zeynep Tufekci from University of North Carolina apprehended that the testimony just turns into congressional spectacle, that lawmakers yell at Zuckerberg.

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