Everybody wants a piece of Mark Zuckerberg. He’s a busy guy with a lot of people trying to get his attention. In the wake of his “not-a-data-breach” scandal, users anxiously waited five days to hear from him, British Parliament would like some personal time, and now a House Committee has officially asked the Facebook CEO to call them, maybe?
As revelations about Facebook’s devil-may-care attitude toward its users’ personal data continue to trickle out, Zuckerberg is playing coy. And that just makes people want him more. On Thursday, the House Energy and Commerce Committee issued a statement calling on Zuckerberg to come testify in person. The statement says that Facebook officials briefed committee staff on Wednesday, but members felt “that many questions were left unanswered.”
Will he? Won’t he? For now, Zuck’s playing hard to get. On Wednesday, the 33-year-old titan of tech did his belated media rounds to explain how his company lost control of 50 million users’ personal data and why it has buried that fact since 2015. When he was asked by CNN’s Laurie Siegel if he’d be will to testify before Congress, Zuckerberg was coy. He said he would be “happy to if it’s the right thing to do,” but “what we try to do is send the person at Facebook who will have the most knowledge.” Always humble, surely Zuckerberg knows that no one could possibly fill his shoes.
Of course, the House committee could always exercise its power of subpoena and force Zuckerberg to show up, but that wouldn’t be very cool. The statement left things open, simply saying, “We look forward to working with Facebook and Mr. Zuckerberg to determine a date and time in the near future for a hearing before this committee.”
The House really is kind of low rent for a man like Zuckerberg, so maybe he’ll hold out for a date with the Senate. In a statement supplied to Gizmodo on Tuesday, a spokesperson told us, “Mark, Sheryl and their teams are working around the clock to get all the facts and take the appropriate action moving forward.” Considering the company has known about this issue for years, it could be a long wait. But at some point, he’s going to have to come out of his shell. After all, experts say Facebook could’ve violated its consent decree with the FTC from 2011 that was related to a whole other privacy issue. If it were hit with a fine for every violation, the penalty could be in the “trillions of dollars.”
We’ve reached out to Facebook for comment and to ask if Mark has decided whether he’ll appear in the House or not, but we know his dance card is full. We’ll update this post when we receive a reply.
UPDATE: A Facebook spokesperson told us, “Mark made comments about this in his CNN interview last night – have nothing to share beyond that.” Classic Mark.