Zuckerberg not ready to testify before UK MPs

AFP
Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg yesterday turned down a request by British lawmakers to appear before them to respond to concerns about data privacy.
AFP

Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg yesterday turned down a request by British lawmakers to appear before them to respond to concerns about data privacy as the European Union set a deadline for the United States social media giant to respond to its own questions.

Zuckerberg instead offered to send one of his deputies as the US company comes under new pressure from the EU to disclose more details about how up to 50 million users’ data are alleged to have been taken from Facebook and used in political campaigns.

In a letter to the British parliament’s digital, culture and media committee, Rebecca Stimson, head of public policy for Facebook UK, said the company “fully recognizes the level of public and parliamentary interest in these issues.”

But committee chair Damian Collins renewed his demand to interview Zuckerberg saying the seriousness of the allegations meant it was “appropriate” for the tycoon to offer an explanation himself — in person or via video-link.

In the letter published by the British committee, Facebook offered to send chief technology office Mike Schroepfer or chief product officer Chris Cox to London next month to provide answers.

“We’d be very happy to invite Mr Cox to give evidence. However, we would still like to hear from Mr Zuckerberg as well,” Collins said yesterday.

“And if he is available to give evidence, then we would be happy to do that either in person or via video link if that would be more convenient for him.”

The EU meanwhile has given the social media giant two weeks to answer its own queries over the scandal, which has raised major questions over how social media companies use private data.

EU justice commissioner Vera Jourova wrote to Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg, asking what measures the company plans to take to prevent a similar scandal.

Facebook insists it did not know the data taken from its site were being used by a British firm, Cambridge Analytica, which worked on US President Donald Trump’s poll campaign among others.


Special Reports
Top