Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg summoned to appear before UK and Canadian parliaments

CEO has repeatedly refused to speak to British MPs who say they have been forced to convene an unprecedented 'international grand committee'

Andrew Griffin
Wednesday 31 October 2018 11:11 GMT
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Mark Zuckerberg has been summoned to appear before MPs from both the UK and Canadian parliaments, as the fallout from Facebook’s data scandals continues.

The social media boss has been repeatedly asked to appear in front of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, and has repeatedly refused. Last time around he sent another high-ranking member of Facebook’s staff instead, who was laughed at by MPs who accused the company of having no morals.

Now the two parliaments have joined up in an unprecedented move to attempt to force Mr Zuckerberg to appear before them. They will call what Damian Collins, chair of the UK body, has labelled an “international grand committee” to quiz the Facebook boss.

Mr Collins will work with Bob Zimmer, chair of the Canadian Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics, to hold the hearing on disinformation and fake news.

The hearing will be led by the UK committee and is scheduled to take place on 27 November.

“Each committee has separately sought evidence from Facebook over failures of process, including the Cambridge Analytica scandal, and subsequent data breaches,” a spokesperson for the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee said. “A number of requests have been issued by the committee to Mark Zuckerberg to give evidence in person; none has been successful.”

In a letter sent by both Mr Collins and Mr Zimmer to the Facebook boss, they say they have been disappointed by his failure to appear in front of either parliament.

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“No such joint hearing has ever been held,” they write. ”Given your self-declared objective to ‘fix’ Facebook, and to prevent the platform’s malign use in world affairs and democratic process, we would like to give you the chance to appear at this hearing.

“We call on you to take up this historic opportunity to tell parliamentarians from both sides of the Atlantic and beyond about the measures Facebook is taking to halt the spread of disinformation on your platform, and to protect user data.”

The letter requests that Mr Zuckerberg should respond by 7 November.

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