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As Zuckerberg heads to Brussels, UK lawmakers ask for answers in FB probe

Committee chair Damian Collins wrote to Facebook expressing disappointment at its 'lack of transparency' in dealing with his investigation into fake news

Agencies  |  London 

Mark Zuckerberg at Congressional hearing
Mark Zuckerberg (Photo: Reuters)

British lawmakers want their European counterparts to quiz Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg about a scandal over improper use of millions of Facebook users’ data, as he will not give evidence in London himself.

Zuckerberg will be in Europe to defend the company after alleged misuse of its data by Cambridge Analytica, a British political consultancy that worked on U.S. President Donald Trump’s election campaign.

But while he will answer questions from lawmakers in Brussels on Tuesday, and is meeting French President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday, he has so far declined to answer questions from British lawmakers, either in person or via video link.

Committee chair Damian Collins wrote to Facebook again yesterday, expressing disappointment at its "lack of transparency" in dealing with his investigation into fake news.

He shared his letter with European lawmakers so they could question him about what Facebook knew about political consultancy Cambridge Analytica's harvesting of Facebook users' data.

“But if Mark Zuckerberg chooses not to address our questions directly, we are asking colleagues at the European Parliament to help us get answers - particularly on who knew what at the company, and when, about the data breach and the non-transparent use of political adverts which continue to undermine our democracy,” he said in a statement.

Last month, Facebook Chief Technical Officer Mike Schroepfer appeared before Collins’s Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, which is investigating fake news.

But the lawmakers have said his testimony and subsequent written answers from the firm to follow-up questions have been inadequate.

Collins outlined deficiencies in Facebook’s answers so far in a letter to Rebecca Stimson, head of public policy at Facebook UK, which has been shared with the EU lawmakers who will quiz Zuckerberg. Collins requested a response from Facebook to his questions by June 4.

The head of Parliament's media committee has appealed to European lawmakers to put questions to Mark Zuckerberg on his behalf when the Facebook chief gives evidence on Tuesday.

First Published: Tue, May 22 2018. 06:48 IST