NEWS23 May 2018

Facebook European Parliament meeting a ‘missed opportunity’

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BELGIUM – Mark Zuckerberg’s appearance in front of European lawmakers has been criticised as the Facebook chief executive failed to provide answers to all of the questions posed by MEPs.

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Zuckerberg met with European Parliament representatives in Brussels last night ( 22 May) to answer questions on the social network’s policies around personal data in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, which saw millions of Facebook users’ data allegedly harvested improperly.

Echoing an apology to US congress last month, the chief executive apologised for Facebook’s tools being used for “harm”, but avoided questions from MEPs, including on opt-outs from targeted advertising and the data the company collects on non-users.

Zuckerberg spoke for over 30 minutes during the 90-minute meeting, which was livestreamed, with the meeting format criticised for not leaving MEPs sufficient time to follow up if the answers fell short, Reuters reported

Guy Verhofstadt MEP, who asked Zuckerberg if he wanted to be remembered as a “failed genius who created a digital monster”, later said the format of the meeting was “inappropriate” and allowed Zuckerberg to avoid questions. 

Damian Collins, chair of the UK’s Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee (DCMS), later tweeted: “Today’s session in the EP was a missed opportunity. An hour of questions, followed by a lengthy statement from Zuckerberg, with all difficult questions dodged. The format, which was agreed by Facebook, led to no real scrutiny.” 

He repeated a call for Zuckerberg to appear in person to answer questions from the British parliament.