Mark Zuckerberg, the owner of Facebook on Tuesday, March 27, 2018, 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 US 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, the 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 tech tycoon to offer an explanation himself, whether in person or via video-link.
In the letter published by the British committee on Tuesday, 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 at the start of a committee hearing on Tuesday, March 27, 2018.
“We will seek to clarify with Facebook whether he is available to give evidence or not because that wasn’t clear from our correspondence.
“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 heavily hit Facebook’s share price and 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.
She also asked whether stricter rules were needed for companies like Facebook as exist for traditional media, and whether it would change its approach to transparency toward users and regulators.
Read more at The Straits Times