Mark Zuckerberg Won't Appear Before UK MPs Over Data Scandal

Members of the United Kingdom's parliament have asked Facebook Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Mark Zuckerberg, to provide evidence of the Cambridge Analytica data breach through a video link instead of traveling to the country in order to give a physical testimony to the committee in charge of that investigation. The request comes after Facebook's chief executive maintained that he will never appear before the MPs to testify on the controversial issue, which came to light in March of this year after it was disclosed by former employees of the British data mining firm and political consultancy Cambridge Analytica that the company harvested and misused the data of around 87 million Facebook users as part of an effort to boost the presidential bid of Donald J. Trump during the 2016 elections in the United States.

Last March, U.K. lawmakers expressed their intention to launch a probe into the alleged misuse of the vast trove of Facebook user data perpetrated by Cambridge Analytica, with MP Damian Collins, chair of the Commons digital, culture, media and sport select committee, promising to summon the executives of both companies, Alexander Nix and Zuckerberg, for a deeper investigation into the data scandal. Since Zuckerberg has no plans to appear before the MPs, Collins says that his committee is also open to accepting the Facebook chief's evidence via a video link if it is the only option left. However, the MPs still intend to issue a formal summons to Zuckerberg if he refuses to give evidence in any way, though the committee does not have the authority to force an individual located in another country to give a testimony to lawmakers in the UK Nonetheless, the Commons can decide to impose some sanctions on the person who will reject UK summons.

Facebook's chief technology officer, Mike Schroepfer, was grilled by UK lawmakers last month over the Cambridge Analytica scandal during an almost five-hour hearing. The inquiry also covered other general issues such as online disinformation and the method used by the world’s largest social media platform to collect and manage user data. Mr. Schroepfer revealed little to no fresh information during the hearing, with the committee concluding that Facebook’s CTO “failed to answer fully on nearly 40 separate points”.

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