Facebook Inc Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg swapped his trademark T-shirt and jeans for a dark suit and a purple tie on Monday as he met U.S. lawmakers to apologize for the social network’s misuse of its members’ data and to head off possible regulation, Reuters reported.
His apologies precede two days of congressional hearings this week, where Zuckerberg will be asked how 87 million Facebook users’ data was improperly shared with a political consultancy, Cambridge Analytica.
He will also likely face questions about ads and posts placed by Russian operatives, in what U.S. authorities believe was an attempt to influence the U.S. 2016 election.
“We didn’t take a broad enough view of our responsibility, and that was a big mistake,” he said in written remarks released by the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee on Monday. “It was my mistake, and I’m sorry.”
If Zuckerberg does not provide satisfactory answers this week, Congress is more likely to push new laws to strictly regulate Facebook. Anticipating such a move, the company has already said it favors new legislation that would make social networks disclose who is behind political ads, much as TV and radio stations must already do.
Tighter regulation of how Facebook uses its members’ data could affect its ability to attract advertising revenue, its lifeblood. Facebook shares closed up 0.5 percent on Monday. They are still down almost 17 percent from highs hit in January, amid a broader tech selloff, partly because of investor concerns about regulation.