By Verne Kopytoff
April 9, 2018

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg can expect a chilly reception at two Congressional hearings this week. Indignant politicians will rail at him for hours about privacy following recent news that political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica gained access to the data of up to 87 million Facebook users.

The planned spectacle fits into a mini-Congressional tradition: Putting tech executives in the hot seat. Over the years, a number of high-profile tech leaders like Microsoft founder Bill Gates and Apple CEO Tim Cook have appeared before House and Senate committees for a pummeling over topics like antitrust, human rights, and taxes.

Such grillings are a departure from the usually friendly reception those executives receive on Capitol Hill, where the tech industry’s campaign contributions and job creation help smooth over any differences. But as Zuckerberg is about to find out, even politicians have their breaking point if the scandal is too juicy and voters are up in arms.

The following is a brief history of some heated encounters between Congress and tech. The overarching lesson is that tech executives, if able to calmly withstand a beating and, in some cases, profusely apologize and promise to do better, can survive as political attention invariably turns elsewhere.

We’ll soon learn whether Zuckerberg, who is following the template of some of his predecessors by implementing privacy changes to Facebook, gets off as lightly.


You May Like