CEO Mark Zuckerberg has declined the invitation summoning him to a joint hearing in London on November 27th, on the grounds that Facebook has already appeared before the UK’s committee. Politicians from five different countries are putting the pressure on the platform, deeming the flippant nature “not good enough.”
The UK’s Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee sent out the request on October 31st, receiving a swift response from the social media site declining on November 2nd. Facebook did try to remedy the rejection by stating that it recognises “the seriousness of these issues and remains committed to working with the Committee to provide any additional relevant information you require for your respective inquiries.”
Committee chairman Damian Collins has since responded with disappointment in the “dismissive response,” chastising Facebook for not providing “means of achieving this co-operation.” According to Collins, “disinformation and fake news is growing,” with Australia, Argentina, Ireland and Canada joining the UK in the call to grill Facebook on what it’s doing to prevent it.
Facebook say that they remain committed" to working with our committees "to provide any additional relevant information" that we require. Yet they offer no means of doing this. The call for accountability is growing, with representatives from 5 parliaments now meeting on the 27th pic.twitter.com/VJFtpqUi0r
— Damian Collins (@DamianCollins) November 7, 2018
“You appeared before committees of the US Congress and Senate, as well as the European Parliament,” Collins’ letter reads. “As the Chairs of the relevant committees in the UK, Canadian, Australian, Argentinian and Irish Parliaments, we believe that you owe Facebook users in our countries the same line of accountability. We say again: the hearing of your evidence is now overdue, and urgent.”
Collectively, Collins notes that there are 170 million users in the countries represented by the ‘grand committee’, which will be “the first joint hearing of its kind.” Facebook has yet to respond to the renewed invite, however Collins has expressed doubts that Zuckerberg can complete his “personal challenge of ‘fixing’ Facebook this year” in an email to CNET, stating that the unwillingness to answer questions shows doubt in his abilities.
KitGuru Says: It’s unsurprising that every government and its dog want a piece of Facebook after the tumultuous year the social media site has had. Still, users deserve the clarity demanded here, but whether we’ll get it or not remains to be seen.