British MPs renewed a demand on Tuesday to interview Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg personally over a data privacy row, after he responded to an earlier request by offering to send one of his deputies.
Damian Collins, the chairman of the House of Commons digital, culture and media committee, said that the seriousness of the allegations meant it was “appropriate” for Zuckerberg to offer an explanation himself, whether in person or via videolink.
In a letter published by the committee on Tuesday, a senior British Facebook executive offered to send chief technology office Mike Schroepfer or chief product officer Chris Cox to London next month.
“We’d be very happy to invite Mr Cox to give evidence,” Collins said at the start of a committee hearing on Tuesday.
“However we would still like to hear from Mr Zuckerberg as well.
“We will seek to clarify with Facebook whether he is available to give evidence or not, because that wasn’t clear from our correspondence, and if he is available to give evidence then we would be happy to do that either in person or via video link if that would be more convenient for him.”
In the letter to Collins, Rebecca Stimson, head of public policy for Facebook UK, wrote: “Facebook fully recognizes the level of public and parliamentary interest in these issues and support your belief that these issues must be addressed at the most senior levels of the company by those in an authoritative position to answer your questions.
“As such Mr Zuckerberg has personally asked one of his deputies to make themselves available to give evidence in person to the committee.”
She said either Schroepfer or Cox could attend “straight after the Easter parliamentary recess”, meaning April 16 at the earliest.
The committee’s request to Facebook followed allegations that data from up to 50 million users was harvested by a British company, Cambridge Analytica, for use in election campaigns, namely that of US President Donald Trump in 2016.
The social media giant said it did not know the data was being used in a political campaign, although it did allow an academic researcher to create an app that picked up the information from users and their friends.
In the letter, Stimson revealed that Facebook was working with regulators around the world to assess how many people in each country were affected.
“We can now confirm that around one percent of the global downloads of the app came from users in the EU, including the UK,” she wrote.
Trump tried to play chicken with the Manhattan DA — and failed spectacularly: ex-federal prosecutor
Former federal prosecutor turned CNN legal analyst Shanlon Wu explained that President Donald Trump shot himself in the foot demanding details about the investigation by Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance.
Wu tweeted the recent report announcing Vance is investigating Trump and the Trump Organization for possible fraud. Trump presumably assumed that the investigation was merely a fishing expedition, demanding that Vance further justify his reasons for the subpoena they issued. That's exactly what they did, effectively disclosing that a grand jury was impaneled to look into Trump bank or tax fraud.
With each passing day Trump’s spin is less capable of distracting Americans from reality: op-ed
Writing in the Washington Post this Monday, Paul Waldman says that if you want to know the sorry state President Trump's campaign is in, just look at its deteriorating spin machine.
The first example cited by Waldman was Trump's recent attack on his usually supportive top infectious disease expert, Dr. Deborah Birx, for daring to say that the virus' spread isn't going away any time soon. Waldman also listed the numerous statements from Trump that downplay the threat of the virus while pushing the misleading claim that things are just fine.
Trump openly solicits payment to US treasury for his ‘approval’ of TikTok sale – which he is forcing
President Donald Trump says he is allowing Microsoft to purchase the U.S. assets of the popular Beijing-based TikTok social media video sharing app, in a sale Trump personally is forcing.
In discussing what he sees as the broad portions of an agreement the President used a real estate term to openly solicit the payment that would have to be made to the U.S. Treasury.
"I said a very substantial portion of that price is going to have to come into the U.S. Treasury of the United States, because we're making it possible for this deal to happen," Trump told reporters Monday afternoon.