Historical data breach

WASHINGTON – US lawmakers on Friday formally asked Facebook Inc’s Mark Zuckerberg to explain at a congressional hearing how 50 million users’ data got into the hands of political consultancy Cambridge Analytica.

The world’s largest social media network is under growing pressure from governments, investors and advertisers. This follows allegations by a whistleblower that British political consultancy Cambridge Analytica improperly accessed users’ information to build profiles on American voters that were later used to help elect US President Donald Trump in 2016.

“The hearing will examine the harvesting and sale of personal information from more than 50 million Facebook users, potentially without their notice or consent and in violation of Facebook policy,” chairman Representative Greg Walden, a Republican who chairs the panel, and Frank Pallone, the top Democrat, and other committee leaders wrote in the letter.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee did not say when they planned the hearing but it will not happen until Congress returns from a two-week recess.

Mr Zuckerberg said this week he would be willing to testify if he is the right person at the company to speak to lawmakers.