Zuckerberg summoned to testify before U.K., Canadian lawmakers

Greg Nash

Members of Parliament from Great Britain and Canada are pushing to have Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testify before them and answer questions about his company’s data privacy practices and disinformation being spread on the social media platform.

{mosads}“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,” Damian Collins, chairman of Great Britain’s Commons Digital Culture Committee, and Bob Zimmer, chairman of the Canadian parliament’s Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics, wrote in a letter to Facebook.

The two requested in their letter that Zuckerberg appear before their committees in a joint hearing in London on Nov. 27

It’s unclear why the two countries are teaming up, but the move is unprecedented. The two parliaments have never before held a joint hearing.

Zuckerberg has already appeared in front of the U.S. Congress and European Parliament but has sent other representatives to speak to members of the British and Canadian parliaments, who have both requested his testimony. 

“We understand that it is not possible to make yourself available to all parliaments,” Collins and Zimmer wrote. “However, we believe that your users in other countries need a line of accountability to your organisation—directly, via yourself.”

Zuckerberg has told Parliament in the past that he has wanted to send employees to speak on issues who are “at the most senior levels of the company” and in “an authoritative position.”

The company is still dealing with the fallout of its data privacy practices and revelations of how it has been manipulated to spread misinformation in an attempt to influence U.S. and U.K. politics.

Facebook was fined 500,000 pounds earlier this month, the maximum possible, for its practices of data sharing that led to the Cambridge Analytica scandal in which the data of 87 million of its users was compromised.

The company has also announced coordinated misinformation campaigns on its platform by foreign governments targeting American politics several times since July.

The company is still struggling to crack down on misinformation spread by domestic groups. Over the past week, two such hoax theories have circulated.

One states that the migrant caravan in Mexico is being funded by Democratic mega-donor George Soros. A second false story alleges that bombs sent to high profile Democrats are a “false flag” operation meant to inspire goodwill for the left before the midterms.

Tags Canadian Parliament Facebook Mark Zuckerberg U.K. Parliament
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