Zuckerberg to meet European Union officials _ dodging public grilling

18 May, 2018, 11:18 | Author: Sammy Rose
  • Cambridge Analytica boss Alexander Nix to appear before MPs on 6 June

Facebook has confirmed that Zuckerberg will attend a meeting with European parliamentary members in Brussels.

It is the latest development in the Cambridge Analytica scandal, which saw the data of around 87m Facebook users worldwide collected by the firm.

Facebook's founder Mark Zuckerberg has agreed to take European parliamentarians' questions about how his platform impacts the privacy of hundreds of millions of European citizens - but only behind closed doors.

"I appreciate that Mark Zuckerberg has chose to present himself in front of the representatives of 500 million Europeans", he said.

"Although Facebook says Mr Zuckerberg has no plans to travel to the United Kingdom, we would also be open to taking his evidence by video link, if that would be the only way to do this during the period of our inquiry", committee chairman, Damian Collins writes in a letter to Facebook. "I welcome Mark Zuckerberg's decision to appear in person before the representatives of 500 million Europeans", Mr Tajani said.

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The committee tweeted that it remained open to Zuckerberg giving evidence via video link, or in person, adding: "Him not appearing before us is not just a snub to the DCMS committee, but more importantly a snub to the United Kingdom and the millions of Facebook users in the United Kingdom who deserve answers". "The Committee will use the opportunity to address numerous inconsistencies in his previous evidence", Damian Collins, the committee's chairman, said in a statement.

Tajani added that Zuckerberg said he will come to Brussels to testify "as soon as possible", potentially within a week.

But the decision to hold the meeting with the European Parliament behind closed doors has angered others. "It must be a public hearing - why not a Facebook Live?" tweeted Guy Verhofstadt, a Belgian politician who is also a Brexit negotiator on behalf of the European Parliament.

The EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which comes into effect on May 25, aims to give users more control over how their personal information is stored and used online, with big fines for firms that break the rules.

Cambridge Analytica has denied doing paid work on the campaign for Brexit, and says its work on the Trump campaign did not use data at the centre of a Facebook scandal, where the details of around 87 million users were allegedly improperly obtained.

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