The stakes are high. In recent weeks, Facebook has come in for a barrage of criticism over its failure to protect User Data. The US government wants to find out more. Hence, Mark Zuckerberg has traveled to Washington [VIDEO] to meet the House and the Senate. He's meeting with a Senate panel on Tuesday prior to testifying before the House on Wednesday. In what many consider a pre-emptive strike on Zuckerberg's part, he met with top lawmakers on Monday.

According to the New York Times, the Facebook CEO tried to ease some pressure by reiterating his regrets about his company's failures. In addition, Zuckerberg released his prepared testimony.

In it, he apologizes for Facebook's role in the spread of fake news, foreign election interference, and user data privacy breaches.

Furthermore, Zuckerberg vowed to create an impartial commission, tasked to investigate what impact social media has on election outcomes, so the New The York Times reports. However sincere Mark Zuckerberg's words were, these assurances have left many doubting that this approach will satisfy lawmakers.

Facebook congressional hearings - what are the core issues?

According to a Forbes report, Mark Zuckerberg's company is facing tough questions in relation to three major issues. To begin with, lawmakers will ask him to shed light on the Cambridge Analytica scandal. The private data belonging to millions of users were passed on without consent and may have helped to sway the outcome of both, the Amercian elections and the Brexit referendum in the UK.

The second issue finding a mention in Forbes is Facebook's reportedly unintentional retention of Messenger app data. Here, users of outdated Android operating systems may have suffered data privacy breaches. Finally, Zuckerberg will have to answer questions relating to the possibility that some people may have figured out how to bulk-harvest Facebook profiles, so Forbes reports.

Protecting user data may not suffice, as many are pushing for far-reaching internet regulations

According to Forbes, the Congressional Hearings may be about much more than protecting the privacy of social media users [VIDEO]. Observers believe that the push to regulate the entire internet is growing ever stronger. Up until now, the internet represented a space where anyone can pretty much publish anything, which is something, many politicians may wish to change. This has been possible because of what is known as 'section 230'.

According to Foreinpolicy.com, Congress has started to consider the introduction of section 230 exceptions.One such exception, namely the 'Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act of 2017' targeting relevant websites was passed in the Senate in March 2018 and is awaiting the president's signature.

Tech companies now fear that this could spell the end of section 230 and lead to widespread stringent internet regulations, so a foreignpolicy.com post states. In that context, Mark Zuckerberg's Washington visit may be crucial when it comes to determining the future of the internet.