Mar 27, 2018

Zuckerberg gets closer to testifying before Congress amid scandal

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg knows there is pressure on him to testify before Congress and believes he is likely to do so in the coming weeks, according to a source familiar with his thinking. And Facebook has been having conversations with committee staffers for days about setting up a Zuckerberg appearance, a congressional source familiar with the matter told Axios.

Why it matters: This will be a major confrontation between Zuckerberg and his DC critics. The company's data practices have been under scrutiny since it was revealed that the Trump-linked Cambridge Analytica illicitly gathered its users information. It also puts pressure on Google CEO Sundar Pichai and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to appear, as well.

CNN reported earlier in the day that the social network founder was anticipating having to face lawmakers.

Yes, but: No committees have said publicly that Zuckerberg is confirmed. Details are important here. That includes what committees Zuckerberg agrees to talk to — three have invited him so far, possibly with more to come — and whether anyone appears alongside on him.

  • Bloomberg reported that he would appear before the House Energy and Commerce Committee on April 12, two days after a hearing that the Senate Judiciary Committee wants Zuckerberg to attend.
  • The House panel's spokesperson, Elena Hernendez, threw some cold water on that report in a statement: "Reports of Mr. Zuckerberg’s confirmed attendance are incorrect. The committee is continuing to work with Facebook to determine a day and time for Mr. Zuckerberg to testify."

Go deeper

America's rundown roads add to farmers' struggles

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

American farmers are struggling to safely use the roads that cut through their fields; decades of neglect and lack of funding have made the routes dangerous.

The big picture: President Trump has long promised to invest billions in rural infrastructure, and his latest proposal would allocate $1 trillion for such projects. Rural America, where many of Trump's supporters live, would see a large chunk of that money.

South Korea and Italy see spikes in coronavirus cases

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The novel coronavirus continues to spread to more nations, and the U.S. reports a doubling of its confirmed cases to 34 — while noting those are mostly due to repatriated citizens, emphasizing there's no "community spread" yet in the U.S. South Korea's confirmed cases jumped from 204 on Friday to 433 on Saturday, while Italy's case count rose from 3 to 62 as of Saturday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed at least 2,362 people and infected more than 77,000 others, mostly in mainland China. New countries to announce infections recently include Israel, Lebanon and Iran.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 1 hour ago - Health

Centrist Democrats beseech 2020 candidates: "Stand up to Bernie" or Trump wins

Bernie Sanders rallies in Las Vegas, Nevada on Feb. 21. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Center-left think tank Third Way urgently called on the Democratic front-runners of the 2020 presidential election to challenge Sen. Bernie Sanders on the South Carolina debate stage on Feb. 25, in a memo provided to Axios' Mike Allen on Saturday.

What they're saying: "At the Las Vegas debate ... you declined to really challenge Senator Sanders. If you repeat this strategy at the South Carolina debate this week, you could hand the nomination to Sanders, likely dooming the Democratic Party — and the nation — to Trump and sweeping down-ballot Republican victories in November."