Thursday, 24 May, 2018

Mark Zuckerberg agrees to meeting with European Union officials in Brussels

Zuckerberg will meet with European parliament in private next week		
		
	Natasha Lomas

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   	8 hours Zuckerberg will meet with European parliament in private next week Natasha Lomas @ 8 hours
Sammy Stanley | 18 May, 2018, 15:34

"I will not attend the meeting with Mr Zuckerberg if it's held behind closed doors", Verhofstadt tweeted.

While Zuckerberg testified last month to the U.S. Congress, he had always been noncommittal on his appearance in Europe, sending his chief technical officer to speak to the British parliament and delaying confirmation of any visit to Brussels.

The EU and British parliaments have been calling for Zuckerberg to appear before them for weeks ever since it emerged that a company, political consultants Cambridge Analytica, had been allowed to misuse the data of millions of Facebook users.

According to reports, following the meeting with Zuckerberg, Antonio Tajani, the president of the European Parliament will hold a press conference to furnish the media with his version of events.

That suggests he will avoid an uncomfortable public appearance and instead meet only with the legislature's top brass behind closed doors.

The EU Justice Commissioner also wants a public hearing.

It is a "snub to the United Kingdom and the millions of Facebook users in the United Kingdom who deserve answers", the tweet read.

As opposed to the very public United States congressional hearings, the Brussels meeting will take place behind closed doors, where Zuckerberg will be questioned by parliamentarians.

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Tajani said that simply showing up to explain himself was already a good move.

The DCMS committee is investigating whether third party use of Facebook users' profile data contributed to the vote to leave the European Union, as well as the use of fake accounts to spread fake news on the platform. "It's a step in the right direction towards restoring confidence".

Zuckerberg will also be meeting with French president, Emmanuel Macron on 23 May.

At the back of MEPs' minds will be the scandal of Cambridge Analytica, the data company that harvested Facebook data and used it - apparently without users' knowledge - to manage electoral campaigns.

Mark Zuckerberg has accepted an invitation to appear before the European Parliament in a closed-door session over the Cambridge Analytica scandal surrounding his firm, despite yet again refusing to be questioned by MPs in the UK.

Zuckerberg has so far declined to appear, to the British lawmakers' annoyance.

Last month, Zuckerberg agreed to public sessions with USA lawmakers, following a major global privacy scandal related to user data and political ad targeting.

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