Facebook to attend Oireachtas committee over Cambridge Analytica breach

More than 44,000 people in Ireland may have had their data improperly shared

Facebook to attend Oireachtas committee over Cambridge Analytica breach

Facebook's European headquarters in Dublin | Image: Niall Carson/PA Archive/PA Images

Top Facebook executives are appearing before the Oireachtas Committee on Communications.

Its vice president of global policy, Joel Kaplan, and head of public policy in Ireland, Niamh Sweeney, will go before the committee on Tuesday.

They are expected to face questions over the recent Cambridge Analytica scandal, as well as the use of social media and its potential influence on previous and future elections and referendums.

The Data Protection Commissioner Helen Dixon will be among the witnesses at the meeting.

Cambridge Analytica is accused of acquiring the data of 87 million Facebook users through an academic researcher at the University of Cambridge, Alexander Kogan.

More than 44,000 people in Ireland may also have had their data improperly shared.

Committee chair Hildegarde Naughton said: "There has been considerable debate in recent years on the role social media has played in elections and political campaigns.

"Social media has revolutionised and changed the nature of political campaigning globally.

"Therefore, it is important that we analyse and understand the impact social media has had on the democratic process and on elections and referenda in the past and how it may impact on the democratic process in the future."

Last week, Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg revealed his personal data was among that improperly acquired by Cambridge Analytica.

He made the admission during the second day of his questioning in US Congress.