Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg has turned down invitation to attend an international grand committee on so-called “fake news” made up of MPs from five national parliaments, saying he is “not able” to attend.
The social network’s founder and chief executive has repeatedly rejected an invitation to appear before the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee, which is leading the UK’s inquiry into fake news.
The latest call for Zuckerberg to appear before MPs was made jointly by DCMS Committee chairman Damian Collins MP and his Canadian counterpart Bob Zimmer.
The tech billionaire appeared before US Congress earlier this year after revelations in the Observer, Channel 4 News and New York Times that Facebook users’ data had been harvested by UK firm Cambridge Analytica and allegedly used to influence the US presidential election and Brexit vote.
Despite Zuckerberg declining the invitation to give evidence, the grand committee – said to be the first of its kind – is set to go ahead on 27 November with committee chairmen from Ireland, Australia and Argentina also set to attend.
Conservative MP Collins said a letter of reply from Facebook declining the invitation was “once again, hugely disappointing”.
He added: “We believe Mark Zuckerberg has important questions to answer about what he knew about breaches of data protection law involving their customers’ personal data, and why the company didn’t do more to identify and act against known sources of disinformation – and in particular those coming from agencies in Russia.
“The fact that he has continually declined to give evidence, not just to my committee, but now to an unprecedented international grand committee, makes him look like he’s got something to hide.
“We will not let the matter rest there, and are not reassured in anyway by the corporate puff piece that passes off as Facebook’s letter back to us.”
The DCMS Committee is expected to report its findings on fake news and disinformation in January next year.
Picture: Reuters/Charles Platiau