says that it won’t send Mark Zuckerberg to the UK to appear before a
Parliamentary committee thatthreatened
to force him to testifythe next time he
entered the country if he wouldn’t come willingly. Ina
letter, Facebook’s head of public policy, Rebecca Stimson,
wrote that Zuckerberg “has no plans to meet with the committee or
travel to the UK at the present time.” She also sent her letter
three days after the deadline Facebook was given to respond.
Zuckerberg appeared before US Congress and has plans to meet with EU
declined to meetwith the UK’s Digital,
Culture, Media and Sport Committee. Instead, Facebook sent Mike
Schroepfer, its chief technical officer, to answer their questions.
But the committee was unhappy with his answers — often, with the
lack of them — if not also the snub. And so it sent Facebook a
follow-up letter on May 1st saying that it would like Zuckerberg to
appear to provide satisfactory responses.
hope that he will respond positively to our request, but if not the
committee will resolve to issue a formal summons for him to appear
when he is next in the UK,” committee chairman Damian Collins wrote
at the time.
statementtoday, Collins said he is
“disappointed” with Facebook’s response and lack of transparency.
But he seems to be backing off of the summons threat and offers to
accept testimony from Zuckerberg through a video call.
by declining to appear, Zuckerberg risks being forced to testify the
next time he has a connecting flight through Heathrow and
potentially facing arrest if he doesn’t go along. And at a bare
minimum, he’s guaranteed to have further pissed off UK lawmakers.
essentially says that it sees the request to see Zuckerberg as
unreasonable. In her letter, Stimson writes that “Facebook has now
held lengthy meetings or evidence sessions around the world.” That
included providing written answers and five hours of testimony from
a senior official to the UK committee. “We are disappointed after
providing a very significant amount of information ... that the
committee declared our response insufficient.”
letter also includes about 17 pages of answers to questions that
Schroepfer didn’t give responses to during his testimony last month.
One answer reveals that Facebook’s Like button, which sends data
back to Facebook even if it isn’t clicked, is present on 8.4 million
websites. Facebook’s tracking pixel, which also monitors users, is
installed on 2.2 million websites.
says these answers still aren’t good enough. “Given that these were
follow up questions to questions Mr. Schroepfer previously failed to
answer, we expected both detail and data, and in a number of cases
got excuses,” he writes.
may want to avoid putting Zuckerberg in front of the UK’s Digital,
Culture, Media and Sport Committee for a number of reasons. Aside
from prolonging the fallout from the Cambridge Analytica scandal,
the committee has also shown itself to be substantially more
technologically savvy than many lawmakers elsewhere and has thrown
much tougher questions at the company.
committee plans to follow up with Facebook to “address significant
gaps” in the company’s answers as it continues to investigate its
data privacy practices, as well as issues around propaganda,
election ads, and content moderation.