Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is in Washington meeting with lawmakers ahead of his testimony Tuesday to a pair of congressional committees.
Zuckerberg is under fire over his platform's unauthorized sharing of user data with Cambridge Analytica. The calls for an investigation about what happened and what regulation social media providers should face is a hot topic on Capitol Hill.
Exchanging his signature t-shirt and jeans for a suit and tie, the 33-year-old CEO met with those who may control the fate of Facebook, including Florida Senator Bill Nelson.
"Now ultimately, and I said to him, your business model that allows advertisers to get information and then directly, utilize, tailor that advertisement, there's a question of privacy there. And that's going to have to be decided at some point in the future," Sen. Nelson said.
Zuckerberg's Washington appearances will be a crash course in how social media works. A Chicago analyst said if the hearings lead to greater government regulation of social media, that could make Facebook even stronger. They'll just take over the business of data developers.
"So if you are a brand or retailer and you want to buy the data so that your advertisements can be targeted to the correct users they can suddenly charge more money because they are no longer sharing that with anybody else," said David Weiss, McMillanDoolittle Retail Consultancy.
Weiss said Zuckerberg has to offer a major mea culpa.
"He has to apologize for the fact that certain third parties tricked people and they didn't catch on to it -- so they should have been more diligent about how their data was being used or sharing it with a third party provider for the scandal," Weiss said.
In fact, in prepared remarks released by Congress Monday, Zuckerberg apologizes and promises to help people manage their data disclosures better. Facebook, he said, will show "everyone a list of the apps you've used and an easy way to revoke their permissions to your data... we're going to put it at the top of news feed to make sure everyone sees it."
It is also expected that Facebook will tell users if their information may have been shared with Cambridge Analytica.
"Technology is a tool -- a tool can be used in a good way or a bad way," Weiss said.
Zuckerberg's widely-anticipated testimony comes after Facebook revealed Cambridge Analytica may have stolen data on 87 million of its users.
Zuckerberg meets with lawmakers before congressional hearings