Labour MEPs: When Zuckerberg appears before the European Parliament, we will pose the questions Congress failed to ask

Mark Zuckerberg will face a more searching examination of Facebook’s complicity in the abuse of users’ data when he appears before the European Parliament than when he faced Congress, Labour MEPs have said after the announcement today the Facebook CEO will come to Brussels, possibly as soon as next week.

Labour’s Claude Moraes, as chair of the European Parliament civil liberties, justice and home affairs (LIBE) committee, will be one of the key MEPs asking the questions in a public hearing and meeting of the Conference of Presidents. As the committee dealing with Facebook privacy and election interference, the LIBE committee was instrumental in bringing Zuckerberg to the European Parliament.

Claude Moraes MEP said:

“It looks like the European Parliament’s political group leaders have made the decision, and Mark Zuckerberg has accepted the invitation to come before the European Parliament.

“As chair of the civil liberties committee we will ask searching questions on behalf of 500 million Europeans, amongst whom are a greater number of Facebook users than in the US. But questions of privacy, data protection, and interference in referendums and elections, are profound and go beyond Facebook – we will seek out the answers Congress failed to elicit when Mr Zuckerberg appeared before them last month.

“I will ask questions on the serious allegations on the manipulation of Facebook users’ personal data by Cambridge Analytica. Our committee has, since the NSA surveillance inquiry, kept track of failings at Facebook including on our delegation to their US headquarters in Silicon Valley.

“The most recent revelations may be just the tip of the iceberg. It is therefore imperative that European citizens are given greater clarity. We will use this opportunity to gain assurances that Facebook will commit to comply with European data protection standards, which under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) are now the strongest in the world.

“Facebook will also need to show that it will adhere to the comprehensive privacy rights due to be provided by the ePrivacy Regulation, in addition to answering questions about its response to the prevalence of hate speech online and the need for Federal Trade Commission compliance.”

Claude Moraes MEP added:

“The announcement that Mr Zuckerberg will appear before the European Parliament, possibly as soon as next week, once more shows where the real influence lies, and where the best forum is to unearth the facts – highlighting how, post-Brexit, the UK will have no platform to question him if he continues to snub Westminster.

“The EU has led the world in data protection, with the strongest safeguards, and we will work to make sure Facebook understands this, loud and clear.”