Mark Zuckerberg declines to give evidence in UK Parliament

In the wake of the Cambridge Analytica revelations, Parliament's fake-news inquiry wants to hear from Zuckerberg in person, and it's not giving up yet.

Katie Collins Senior European Correspondent
Katie a UK-based news reporter and features writer. Officially, she is CNET's European correspondent, covering tech policy and Big Tech in the EU and UK. Unofficially, she serves as CNET's Taylor Swift correspondent. You can also find her writing about tech for good, ethics and human rights, the climate crisis, robots, travel and digital culture. She was once described a "living synth" by London's Evening Standard for having a microchip injected into her hand.
Katie Collins
2 min read
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg

Mark Zuckerberg plans to send either Facebook's chief product officer or its chief technology officer to London in his place.

Win McNamee / Getty Images

Mark Zuckerberg turned down an opportunity to come to London to give evidence in Parliament about Facebook's part in the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

Zuckerberg said last week he would be happy to testify in front of Congress in the US. But the Facebook CEO will not be doing the same in the UK, according to a letter the company sent Monday to the chair of the Digital, Media, Culture and Sport Committee, Damian Collins.

In his place, Facebook offered up Chief Technology Officer Mike Schroefper or Chief Product Officer Chris Cox.

Collins wrote to Zuckerberg last week asking him to appear before the committee in person as part of Parliament's ongoing inquiry into fake news. Facebook already provided evidence as part of the inquiry in a session in Washington DC in February, but Collins was dissatisfied, accusing the company's representatives of consistently understating risks and "misleading" the committee.

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He requested further evidence following the revelations last week that the personal data of up to 50 million Facebook users had been misused as part of work done by data consultancy firm Cambridge Analytica, best-known for its efforts on behalf of Donald Trump's election campaign.

"It is now time to hear from a senior Facebook executive with the sufficient authority to give an accurate account of this catastrophic failure of process," said Collins in his letter. "Given your commitment at the start of the New Year to 'fixing' Facebook, I hope that this representative will be you."

Collins' request isn't the only invitation that's been sent Facebook's way. In the US on Monday, the Senate's judiciary committee invited Zuckerberg, along with the CEOs of Twitter and Google, to appear at an April 10 hearing on the future of data privacy in social media.

In spite of Zuckerberg's rejection of his invitation, Collins is still determined that the Facebook CEO should give evidence to the committee.

"We'd be very happy to welcome Mr Cox to give evidence," Collins on Tuesday in a statement during an evidence session. "However we would still like to hear from Mr Zuckerberg himself."

He would seek to clarify whether Zuckerberg could give still give evidence, either in person or via video link, he said.

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