Facebook officials refuse to attend congressional briefing on privacy

Facebook refused an invitation from Reps. Ed MarkeyEd MarkeyOvernight Finance: Scoop: See where Trump wants to slash spending | Mnuchin emerges from hearing intact Senate Dems want Trump to withdraw from Pacific trade deal Five takeaways from Pruitt's EPA hearing MORE (D-Mass.) and Joe Barton (R-Texas) to participate in a congressional briefing next week on children and teen privacy.

The lawmakers said they plan to hold the briefing anyway.

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We are disappointed that Facebook has declined our invitation to brief Members of the Congressional Bi-Partisan Privacy Caucus,” Markey and Barton wrote in a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerburg. “Given Facebook’s widespread use by children and teenagers, as well as its recent settlement with the Federal Trade Commission over privacy violations, we felt that it was important for Facebook to participate in this briefing.”

The FTC settled a case against Facebook last week over charges the social network violated its own privacy policy. The settlement requires Facebook to implement a comprehensive privacy program, including outside privacy audits every two years for the next 20 years.

The lawmakers said they had hoped Facebook would have explained the details of the settlement and how the company protects its users privacy.

“Facebook is committed to continuing to offer easily accessible tools so people can control how they share information and with whom,” Facebook spokesman Andrew Noyes said in an email. “In fact, over the last 18 months alone, we announced more than 20 new tools and resources designed to give people more control over their Facebook experience, many of which were described in a recent blog post by our founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg. We communicate regularly with lawmakers about these issues and look forward [to] continuing that productive dialogue.”

The congressional briefing is scheduled for Dec. 14 and will feature “prominent stakeholders in the area of children’s online privacy,” the lawmakers wrote.