Mark Zuckerberg faces formal summons from UK MPs.
It’s been a tough year or so for Facebook. From allegations of supporting (if not outright colluding with) foreign interests who may have swayed the presidential election with political ads to accusations that user data was harvested, sold, and allowed to be shared with outsiders for intrusive purposes, the only real surprise about founder Mark Zuckerberg’s recent appearance before Congress is how long it took to get him there.
Now, another governing body wants a piece of Zuckerberg, this time to finally answer some questions that have remained unclear throughout the privacy debate. The UK has made multiple requests of the CEO to come testify about user privacy and other related topics, but so far that request has been denied.
Stand-in fell short
Facebook did send someone in the founder’s place, but chief technology officer Mike Schroepfer failed to fully answer dozens of the council’s questions. That matter has been addressed by the UK to the head of Facebook UK, and an ultimatum issued: produce Mark Zuckerberg for testimony, or he will be summoned the next time he steps foot in the UK.
According to Andrew Griffin for The Independent, “Damian Collins, the MP who chairs the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, said that he hopes Mr Zuckerberg will choose to come to London and speak to them. But if he keeps refusing it will have to issue a formal summons the next time he is in the UK, Mr Collins wrote in a letter to Facebook.”
Zuckerberg will already be in Europe soon to address Facebook privacy concerns with the EU, and the UK has stated he is expected to appear to address the concerns of the MPs as well. Failure to respond and appear may result in a summons being issued for him, compelling him to appear.
Lack of answers
It’s interesting to note that the UK officials’ concerns came after Zuckerberg’s testimony before Congress, and that his lack of solid answers led to this decision to request his presence. There are tens of millions of Facebook users in the UK, and the government rightly wants answers about how their privacy is being protected in light of recent events.