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article imageMark Zuckerberg's parliamentary no show sparks outrage

By Tim Sandle     Nov 27, 2018 in Technology
London - Politicians from nine different countries have reacted with fury at the absence of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg to a committee of the British parliament. The committee was examining disinformation and fake news.
For those concerned about the way Facebook is dealing with data, privacy, and ensuring that it reports on news accurately, then Zuckerberg's behavior will only serve to compound such misgivings. Certainly by failing to attend the select committee (which scrutinizes matters of public concern), Zuckerberg has played into the hands of his detractors.
In place of Zuckerberg was Facebook executive, Richard Allan, who was grilled by policy makers from nine countries about social media and subjects like disinformation and "fake news." Allan was present because Zuckerberg had ignored several requests to appear before a panel of politicians. Despite Allan's appearance, an empty chair and placeholder for Zuckerberg were clearly visible.
This led Nathaniel Erskine-Smith, vice chair of the standing committee on access to information, privacy and ethics in the lower house of Canada's parliament to utter: "We don't have Mr Zuckerberg here today which is incredible unfortunate, and I think speaks to a failure to account for the loss of trust certainly across the globe with respect to Facebook and Facebook's users."
The committee hearing was arranged after the atypical seizure of internal Facebook documents from another company, something which occurred under the orders of the committee using the U.K. parliament's legal powers.
Those appearing at the session held at Westminster, London, U.K. were lawmakers from Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, France, Ireland, Latvia, and Singapore, plus members of the British Parliament's Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee. Issues on the agenda included consultancy Cambridge Analytica, the verification of which 'news' is real and which is 'fake', and privacy controls.
According to TechCrunch, tough questions were asked of Allan, such as asking why Facebook "refused to remove a piece of highly inflammatory anti-Muslim hate speech in Sri Lanka until the country blocked access to its platform" as well as issues about public perceptions of trust with the social media network, given the series of issues concerning data use.
More about Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook, Data, Data privacy, fake news
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