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UK parliament demands Mark Zuckerberg’s testimony after Facebook boss offers to send deputy

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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.

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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.

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“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.

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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.

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“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.


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Gordon Sondland leaves no doubt Trump is a criminal as he surprises the world with his devastating testimony

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On Wednesday morning, EU ambassador Gordon Sondland decided to save himself. In dramatic testimony before the House Intelligence Committee, Sondland — a Donald Trump appointee who gave the president $1 million for his inaugural party — gave up the president and pretty much everyone else.

This article was originally published at Salon

Like former ambassador Kurt Volker on Tuesday, Sondland painted a picture of himself as a hapless naïf, unaware that the proposed "investigations" Trump and his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, kept demanding from Ukrainian leaders were actually an effort to fabricate conspiracy theories about former Vice President Joe Biden and other Democratic officials.

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Impeachment hearing explodes with applause as Jackie Speier highlights Trump’s daily lies

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Texas Republican Rep. Mike Conaway on Thursday argued that it was not illegal for Republicans to "out" the White House whistleblower.

Conway cited a Washington Post "fact-check" that gave "Three Pinocchios" to the claim that the whistleblower has a statutory right to anonymity.

Following his time, Ambassador Gordon Sondland was questioned by Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA).

During Speier's questioning, she was interrupted by Conaway, who brought up The Post giving "Three Pinocchios."

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Adam Schiff buries one of the GOP’s remaining anti-impeachment talking points

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Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) on Wednesday took a hammer to one of the Republican Party's few remaining talking points aimed at undermining the House impeachment inquiry.

Throughout the testimony of European Union ambassador Gordon Sondland, Republicans kept saying that there couldn't be any kind of extortion scheme on President Donald Trump's part because Ukraine got its military aid without publicly announcing investigations into former Vice President Joe Biden.

Schiff, however, showed why this argument simply doesn't hold up.

"My colleagues seem to be under the impression that unless the president spoke the words, 'Ambassador Sondland, I am bribing the Ukrainian president,' that there's no evidence of bribery!" he said.

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