Competitors are promoting themselves as worthy alternatives after Facebook’s privacy debacle and increased public scrutiny about data use. — Submitted photo

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg will testify before a House oversight panel on April 11 amid a privacy scandal that has roiled the social media giant, a congressional panel announced Wednesday.

The Associated Press reported that U.S. Reps. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) and Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) said the House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing will focus on the Facebook’s “use and protection of user data.”

Announcement of the hearing date comes as Facebook faces scrutiny over its data collection following allegations that the political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica obtained data on tens of millions of Facebook users to try to influence elections.

The public’s reaction to Facebook failures has been swift, with thousands of users eschewing the social network. Millions have flocked to Facebook’s direct competitor, Vero. The platform’s founder promises “an advertising free platform” because “we want Vero to enhance your life, not detract from it.” (

For better or worse, Twitter is still the social network most news breaks on. But, if it is quick info nuggets you need to get or share, Twitter is still the site to check out. (

Launched by former Yahoo president Sue Decker, Raftr is a news aggregator that helps passionate groups connect “to the communities (“rafts”) you care about.” (

If your concerns are local, then visit Nextdoor, “the private social network for your neighborhood.” As explained on its website: “Nextdoor is the best way to stay informed about what’s going on in your neighborhood — whether it’s finding a last-minute babysitter, planning a local event, or sharing safety tips. There are so many ways our neighbors can help us, we just need an easier way to connect with them.” (

Remember, that while it is easy to let your guard down while navigating online, it is still your responsibility to question all that you encounter in the virtual world.

- The Associated press contributed to this report.

“Visible Digital” is a weekly column that explores digital technology and social media trends. Share your digital world with me on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook @bobbibooker.

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