Facebook CEO criticised for failing to appear at UK parliament

Lawmakers from nine different countries accused Facebook of undermining democratic organisations after CEO Mark Zuckerberg failed to attend an international hearing on disinformation in London, according to a Reuters report.

Facebook is being investigated by lawmakers in Britain after the Cambridge Analytica scandal, a political consulting firm that collected data from 87m Facebook users without their permission and used that data to manipulate US voters in the 2016 presidential elections.

Global criticism of Facebook and its possible influence in the 2016 Brexit vote and U.S. polls are among the subjects being investigated by lawmakers.

Though Facebook claims that they comply with the current EU data protection law, several politicians at the hearing in London vented their discontentment towards vice-president Richard Allan, who attended in Zuckerberg’s place.

“We’ve never seen anything quite like Facebook, where, while we were playing on our phones and apps, our democratic institutions … seem to have been upended by frat-boy billionaires from California,” Canadian lawmaker Charlie Angus said.

“So Mr. Zuckerberg’s decision not to appear here at Westminster (Britain’s parliament) to me speaks volumes.”

The VP apologized for Zuckerberg’s absence and admitted that Facebook has “damaged the public’s trust.” He also agreed that the company needs to continue to comply with EU data protection laws.

According to the report, Allan refused to name a person or an app banned from Facebook for its mishandling of information, other than GSR (Global Science Research) app.

Internal facebook documents

Earlier this week, Damian Collins, the lawmaker who leads the British parliamentary committee, seized internal Facebook documents from Theodor Kramer, the chief executive of Six4Three.

The documents contain relevant information about Facebook’s privacy controls. According to a BBC report, Collins said he would not release the documents on Tuesday as he is not a position to do so.

However, Mr. Collins later tweeted that the documents could be published later this week if they are relevant to the inquiry.

His tweet read: “The @CommonsCMS has received the documents it ordered from Six4Three relating to Facebook. I have reviewed them and the committee will discuss how we will proceed early next week. Under UK law & parliamentary privilege, we can publish papers if we choose to as part of our inquiry.”

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