Yesterday, the chairs of the UK and Canadian Houses of Commons issued a letter calling for Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s CEO to appear before them. The primary aim of this hearing is to get a clear idea of what measures Facebook is taking to avoid the spreading of disinformation on the social media platform and to protect user data. It is scheduled to happen at the Westminster Parliament on Tuesday 27th November.
The committee has already gathered evidence regarding several data breaches and process failures including the Cambridge Analytica scandal and is now seeking answers from Mark Zuckerberg on what led to all of these incidents.
Mark last attended a hearing in April with the Senate’s Commerce and Judiciary committees this year in which he was asked about the company’s failure to protect its user data, its perceived bias against conservative speech, and its use for selling illegal material like drugs. After which he has not attended any of the hearings and instead sent other senior representatives such as Sheryl Sandberg, COO at Facebook. The letter pointed out:
“You have chosen instead to send less senior representatives, and have not yourself appeared, despite having taken up invitations from the US Congress and Senate, and the European Parliament.”
Throughout this year we saw major security and data breaches involving Facebook. The social media platform faced a security issue last month which impacted almost 50 million user accounts. Its engineering team discovered that hackers were able to find a way to exploit a series of bugs related to the View As Facebook feature.
Earlier this year, Facebook witnessed a backlash for the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica data scandal. It was a major political scandal about Cambridge Analytica using personal data of millions of Facebook users for political purposes without their permission.
The reports of this hearing will be shared in December if at all Zuckerberg agrees to attend it. The committee has requested his response till 7th November.