- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 28, 2018

With Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg expected to soon testify before the House Energy and Commerce Committee, the scandalized social media giant on Wednesday unveiled a centralized system for users to better control privacy and security settings.

The updates were announced via blog in response to a growing global outcry over how the firm treats personal data.

Since revelations rocked the firm on March 16 that the U.K.-based election consultancy Cambridge Analytica, which worked with Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, siphoned data from about 50 million users — Facebook has lost roughly $80 billion in market value.

While Cambridge Analytica has denied using the data to assist President Trump, the firm suspended its CEO after additional allegations surfaced.

Wednesday’s privacy announcement explains that Facebook has created a new centralized page for people to view and control their privacy and security settings. The page, which it claims was in development before the Cambridge Analytica data scandal, allows users to hide personal information, including political preferences.

The firm’s troubles in Washington have been mounting rapidly all week. On Monday, Federal Trade Commission officials, in addition to state prosecutors, announced they have launched inquiries into Facebook’s privacy practices. In 2012 the firms was involved in a settlement with the U.S. government to better protect data.

On Tuesday, Bloomberg reported that Mr. Zuckerberg could appear before the House Energy and Commerce Committee as early as April 12. Sen. Charles E. Grassley, Iowa Republican and chairman of the Judiciary Committee, has also called on the CEO to explain his company’s actions at an April 10 hearing.

England has also targeted the notoriously arrogant firm founder. On Tuesday, Mr. Zuckerberg declined to appear before the British Parliament after being invited by an inquiry into fake news. Panel chief, Damian Collins, called the decision not to appear “astonishing” and urged Mr. Zuckerberg to “think again.”

A Twitter hashtag #DeleteFacebook is also trending globally.

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