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Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg faces subpoena in Canada over fake news

The Facebook CEO didn't respond to requests to appear before an international committee.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg faces a subpoena from a Canadian Parliament committee.
James Martin

A Canadian Parliament committee on Tuesday voted unanimously to issue a subpoena calling for appearances from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg

The Facebook executives were invited to appear before the International Grand Committee on Big Data, Privacy and Democracy in Ottawa on May 28, but neither responded. Zuckerberg also ignored requests to address a Canadian committee looking into election meddling and disinformation on Facebook.

The subpoena can only be enforced if Zuckerberg and Sandberg go to Canada.

"Our committee feels strongly that Mark Zuckerberg and his COO Sheryl Sandberg have a duty to appear before the International Grand Committee on Big Data, Privacy and Democracy and answer questions from lawmakers representing over 372 million citizens worldwide," Bob Zimmer, chair of Canada's Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics, said in a statement. 

If Zuckerberg and Sandberg don't respond to the subpoena or refuse to appear before the committee, the committee will "submit to the full Parliament a motion to hold them in contempt," Zimmer told CBS News. (Editor's note: CNET is owned by CBS.)

"Over the last year, we have participated in numerous meetings and hearings with government bodies around the world," a Facebook representative said Thursday. "We will work with the Committee to ensure Facebook is appropriately represented at the May 28 meeting."

Last year, Zuckerberg testified before Congress following the Cambridge Analytica scandal, in which data from as many as 87 million Facebook users was improperly shared with the political consultancy.

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Originally published May 8.
Update, May 9: Adds comment from Facebook and Zimmer.