Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg hearing Congress Senate

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg says his company is considering legal action.

  • Facebook is considering legal action against Cambridge Analytica, Cambridge University, and Alexander Kogan, the researcher at the centre of the data scandal.
  • CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified before Congress on Tuesday, and said that the social network is "looking into" legal action.
  • Facebook itself is facing class action lawsuits from aggreived users.

Facebook is "looking into" the possibility of suing Cambridge Analytica, Cambridge University, or the researcher at the heart of its data scandal, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said.

The 33-year-old social networking chief exec testified before a Congressional House committee on Tuesday in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, in which researcher Aleksander Kogan obtained the personal data of up to 87 million users and improperly sold it to the political research firm.

He was asked by Democratic congressman Eliot Engel if Facebook was considering legal action, whether against Kogan himself, his then-employer Cambridge University or Cambridge Analytica itself. His answer: "It's something we're looking into."

Kogan has already been banned from Facebook, Zuckerberg said. Cambridge Analytica was recently banned from the social network, as well.

And Zuckerberg said Facebook is also planning to investigate further as to what took place at Cambridge University, the prestigious British university where Kogan established his Cambridge Prosociality and Well-Being Lab. "A number of other researchers [were] building similar apps" at the university, Zuckerberg said. "[We] need to understand if there was something bad going on at Cambridge University overall that will require a stronger action."

Facebook is clearly keen to be seen to be taking strong action against those responsible for the scandal — but it is also facing significant regulatory blowback itself. On Tuesday, senators suggested the incident violated an FTC consent order the company is required to abide by. And Facebook is also facing a class action lawsuit from aggreived users over the scandal.

On Tuesday, Zuckerberg also suggested Facebook could take legal action against Cambridge Analytica if it did not fully comply with its investigation. "If we are not able to do an audit to our satisfaction, we are going to take legal action to enable us to do that," he said.