MARK Zuckerberg is to give evidence to a US committee on April 11 over Facebook’s “use and protection of user data”.

Representatives Greg Walden and Frank Pallone said the oversight committee will investigate the company following allegations that political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica harvested the data of more than 50 million Facebook users to try to influence elections.

Walden is the House energy and commerce committee chairman and Pallone is the panel’s top ranking Democrat. They said the hearing will be “an important opportunity to shed light on critical consumer data privacy issues and help all Americans better understand what happens to their personal information online”.

The committee is the first of three congressional panels that requested Zuckerberg’s evidence to announce a hearing date. The Senate commerce and judiciary committees also have called for him to appear.

Walden and Pallone said last month that they wanted to hear directly from Zuckerberg after senior Facebook executives failed to answers questions during a closed-door briefing with congressional staff about how Facebook and third-party developers use and protect consumer data.

Zuckerberg said during a March 21 CNN interview that he would be “happy” to give evidence before Congress, but only if he was the right person to do that.

He said there might be other Facebook officials better able to appear, depending on what Congress wanted to know.

Walden and Pallone said a day later that as Facebook’s top executive, Zuckerberg was the “right witness to provide answers to the American people”.

It is the first official request from a congressional oversight committee for the Facebook boss to appear since the Cambridge Analytica scandal surfaced.

The company, funded in part by Trump supporter and billionaire financier Robert Mercer, paired its vault of consumer data with voter information.

The Trump campaign paid the firm nearly $6m during the 2016 election, although it has since distanced itself.