Who does the Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg answer to? Well, the Facebook founder saw himself appearing before the US Senate this year for questioning about the ‘Cambridge Analytica scandal‘, but he has refused requests similarly from the UK and Canadian lawmakers.
Now, politicians from both nations are banding up for a joint hearing on the fake news and the internet, and they are hoping that a joint summon will finally persuade Zuckerberg to attend the questioning.
In their letter to the Facebook chief signed by UK MP Damian Collins and Canadian MP Bob Zimmer, the Facebook founder has been asked to face questions from an “International grand committee on fake news and disinformation” at an event in London on November 27th.
“We are pretty clear that it is not possible to make yourself available to all parliaments,” write Zimmer and Collins “But we believe that your users in other countries need a line of accountability to your company directly, through yourself. We would have thought that this obligation is something that you would want to take up.”
The letter notes that there’ve been no international committees examining Facebook’s role in spreading fake news till date, despite the global impact of its platform. In recent years, the social media giant has been implicated in the spreading of fake new and election scandals of varying ways of seriousness around the globe, from the 2016 US election to the UK’s Brexit referendum and even the military-led genocide in Myanmar.
A House of Commons select committee is organising the hearing in the UK. Calls for a political sanction against Facebook and similar online platforms have been gaining momentum in the country. The UK’s data watchdog has already fined facebook, and earlier this week, the government has outlined plans for a new “digital tax” on large tech companies.
Zimmer who heads Canada’s Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics while Collins leads the UK’s Digital, Culture, Media and Sports Select Committee. Zimmer will be jetting off to the UK to attend the hearing, which will go ahead regardless of Facebook’s CEO’s attendance. According to The Guardian report, politicians from parliaments around the world who have failed to gain access to Zuckerberg will also be able to attend the question if they solely wish.
“Given your declared objective to fix Facebook, and to prevent the platform’s malign use in world affairs and democratic process, we would like to give you the chance to appear at this hearing,” Collins wrote. And Zimmer also wrote “we both plan to issue final reports on this issue by the end of December 2018. The hearing of your evidence is now overdue, and urgent.”