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27 Nov 2018

Drama expected at Facebook London data hearing even if Zuckerberg isn’t there

Data Centre Afrika

The company’s founder has refused to appear at tomorrow’s parliamentary hearing, but a move to seize documents in a separate corporate legal case could reveal some secrets the company didn’t want made public, and create an interesting hearing.


Facebook has confirmed that founder Mark Zuckerberg will be “unable” to be questioned by several members from international parliaments in London tomorrow (Tuesday 27 November) as part of an inquiry into disinformation and “fake news”.

The International Grand Committee inquiry has been organised by the UK parliamentary Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Committee, with political leaders from several countries – including Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Ireland, Latvia, Singapore and the UK – taking part.

After Zuckerberg was invited to take part in person by answering the inquiry’s questions, the company said he wasn’t able to. The committee then invited him to answer questions via a video link, but Facebook again said he wasn’t able to do this.

Instead, Facebook has arranged for Richard Allan, its vice president of policy solutions, to answer questions from the committee at a scheduled time of Tuesday 11.30am GMT. The entire session covering all those appearing will be streamed live from 10.30am GMT.

The International Grand Committee said it had written to Zuckerberg inviting him to appear. It said: “Facebook refused twice saying he was ‘not able to be in London’ and ‘not able to accept the invitation’.”

It added: “The Committee offered the opportunity for him to give evidence over video link, which was also refused. Facebook has offered Richard Allan, vice president of policy solutions, which the Committee has accepted.”

But, it added: “The Committee still believes that Mark Zuckerberg is the appropriate person to answer important questions about data privacy, safety, security and sharing. A recent New York Times investigation raises further questions about how recent data breaches were allegedly dealt with within Facebook, and when the senior leadership team became aware of the breaches.”

The data on millions of Facebook users was misused by Cambridge Analytica, admits Facebook, with that breach confirmed earlier this year. It has now been reported by the BBC that the DCMS, that has organised tomorrow’s inquiry, has seized Facebook documents relating to a legal case brought against it by another US firm, Six4Three.

The documents are said to include details about Facbook’s privacy controls and were legally obtained in the US, reports the BBC, as part of the other company’s legal case. Facebook’s Richard Allan has now demanded their return.

They were obtained when parliamentarian officers seized them from an executive of Six4Three when he recently visited London. Details from these documents may be made public at tomorrow’s hearing.

With this latest development, there will be more spice than expected with Allan’s appearance at the committee.

Source: https://data-economy.com/drama-expected-at-facebook-london-data-hearing-even-if-zuckerberg-isnt-there/

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