Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg had dinner with several senators in Washington D.C. during a rare visit to Capitol Hill that comes on the heels of rising scrutiny over the company’s business practices, CNBC reported on Thursday (Sept. 19).
A spokeswoman for Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) said on Wednesday (Sept. 18) that he “helped organize” a dinner meeting in Washington for Zuckerberg and a group of senators “at Facebook’s request,” the aide told CNBC. Warner, the vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, has been vocal in his support of regulating Big Tech.
Zuckerberg is also planning to meet with House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) and Senate Judiciary Antitrust Chairman Mike Lee (R-Utah).
This dinner meeting is the first time Zuckerberg has returned to Capitol Hill since the 2018 Cambridge Analytica testimonies, which essentially launched tech scrutiny.
“The participants had a discussion touching on multiple issues, including the role and responsibility of social media platforms in protecting our democracy, and what steps Congress should take to defend our elections, protect consumer data and encourage competition in the social media space,” the spokesperson told the news outlet.
Also in attendance at the dinner were Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.). Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) is scheduled to meet with Zuckerberg on Thursday (Sept. 19), and a spokesperson for Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) told CNBC that Facebook had reached out to schedule a meeting.
The social media giant has been under scrutiny via multiple antitrust investigations. In July, it was announced that Facebook had reached a $5 billion settlement with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) over privacy violations.
Shortly thereafter, the agency launched another probe into the company’s competition tactics. In addition, state attorneys general led by Texas and New York are separately launching official antitrust investigations into Facebook. AGs from 39 states, as well as Puerto Rico, Guam and the District of Columbia, have all signed a letter to the FTC asking it to look at a large range of factors when it comes to how Big Tech is harming consumers.