As public and government scrutiny of Facebook’s power and influence grows, CEO Mark Zuckerberg will appear at the Aspen Ideas Festival on Wednesday to address privacy and regulation.
In a conversation with Harvard Professor Cass Sunstein, Zuckerberg will discuss “government regulation, shifts to privacy, and innovation,” according to Aspen. (Sunstein has served as a consultant for Facebook on issues related to social media and democracy.)
As recently as Monday, Zuckerberg’s appearance was not listed on the conference website. The talk will be livestreamed on the festival’s website as well as from his Facebook profile page. Zuckerberg is set to speak at 4:30 pm ET.
The company has faced criticism over its use and handling of users’ data and private information. The Federal Trade Commission is conducting an ongoing investigation that could result in fines ranging from $3 billion to $5 billion for Facebook. Earlier this month, the Wall Street Journal reported that Facebook had “uncovered emails” that could show Zuckerberg “knew of problematic privacy practices” at the company.
A number of politicians and even a Facebook cofounder have been calling for increased regulation of the company, and possibly for it to be broken up. On Monday, Nick Clegg, the company’s head of global policy and communications, pushed back against the calls for a break-up of the company, urging that policymakers instead develop new regulations to prevent countries such as China and Russia from “writing the new rules of the Internet.”
Just last week, Facebook announced it is launching its own cryptocurrency, Libra, and was swiftly met with opposition. The US House Financial Services Committee and Senate banking committee have scheduled hearings on the digital currency in July.
The festival is put on by the Aspen Institute and The Atlantic and is underwritten in part by Facebook.