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Where’s the accountability Facebook?


Facebook has yet again declined an invitation for its founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg to answer international politicians questions about how disinformation spreads on his platform and undermines democratic processes. But policymakers arent giving up — and have upped the ante by issuing a fresh invitation signed by representatives from another three national parliaments. So the call for global accountability is getting louder. Now representatives from a full five parliaments have signed up to an international grand committee calling for answers from Zuckerberg, with Argentina, Australia and Ireland joining the UK and Canada to try to pile political pressure on Facebook. The UKs Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) committee has been asking for Facebooks CEO to attend its multi-month enquiry for the best part of this year, without success… Zuckerberg refuses UK parliament summons over Fb data misuseZuckerberg again snubs UK parliament over call to testifyIn its last request the twist was it came not just from the DCMS inquiry into online disinformation but also the Canadian Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics. This year policymakers on both sides of the Atlantic have been digging down the rabbit hole of online disinformation — before and since the Cambridge Analytica scandal erupted into a major global scandal — announcing last week they will form an international grand committee to further their enquiries. The two committees will convene for a joint hearing in the UK parliament on November 27 — and they want Zuckerberg to join them to answer questions related to the platforms malign use in world affairs and democratic process, as they put it in their invitation letter. Facebook has previously despatched a number of less senior representatives to talk to policymakers probing damages caused by disinformation — including its CTO, Mike Schroepfer, who went before the DCMS committee in April. But both Schroepfer and Zuckerberg have admitted the accountability buck stops with Facebooks CEO. The companys nine-month-old Privacy Principles also makes the following claim [emphasis ours]: We are accountableIn addition to comprehensive privacy reviews, we put products through rigorous data security testing. We also meet with regulators, legislators and privacy experts around the world to get input on our data practices and policies. The increasingly pressing question, though, is to whom is Facebook actually accountable? Zuckerberg went personally to the US House and Senate to face policymakers questions in April. He also attended a meeting of the EU parliaments Conference of Presidents in May. But the rest of the world continues being palmed off with minions. Despite some major, major harms. Facebooks 2BN+ user platform does not stop at the US border. And Zuckerberg himself has conceded the company probably wouldnt be profitable without its international business. Yet so far only the supranational EU parliament has managed to secure a public meeting with Facebooks CEO. And MEPs there had to resort to heckling Zuckerberg to try to get answers to their actual questions. Facebook say that they remain committed to working with our committees to provide any additional relevant information that we require. Yet they offer no means of doing this, tweeted DCMS chair Damian Collins today, reissuing the invitation for Zuckerberg. The call for accountability is growing, with representatives from 5 parliaments now meeting on the 27th. The letter to Facebooks CEO notes that the five nations represent 170 million Facebook users. We call on you once again to take up your responsibility to Facebook users, and speak in person to their elected representatives, it adds. Facebook say that they remain committed" to working with our committees "to provide any additional relevant information" that we require. Yet they offer no means of doing this. The call for accountability is growing, with representatives from 5 parliaments now meeting on the 27th The UKs information commissioner said yesterday that Facebook needs to overhaul its business model, giving evidence to parliament on the unprecedented data investigation her office has been running which was triggered by the Cambridge Analytica scandal. She also urged policymakers to strengthen the rules on the use of peoples data for digital campaigning. Last month the European parliament also called for Facebook to let in external auditors in the wake of Cambridge Analytica, to ensure users data is being properly protected — yet another invitation Facebook has declined. Europes parliament calls for full audit of Facebook in wake of breach scandalMeanwhile an independent report assessing the companys human rights impact in Myanmar — which Facebook commissioned but chose to release yesterday on the eve of the US midterms when most domestic eyeballs would be elsewhere — agreed with the UNs damning assessment that Facebook did not do enough to prevent its platform from being used to incite ethical violence. The report also said Facebook is still not doing enough in Myanmar. Facebook still isnt taking Myanmar seriously

Mark Zuckerberg refuses to testify in the UK yet again


An international committee wants to grill the Facebook CEO over fake news. Mark Zuckerberg has yet again rebuked a UK parliamentary request for him to testify. An international committee had called for the Facebook CEO to appear before it later this month. Committee chairs from Australia, Argentina, Ireland and Canada have joined the UK in calling for Zuckerberg to participate in their inquiry into fake news and disinformation. But while pressure might be intensifying on him to testify, he turned down the invitation, with Facebook saying that it's not possible for Zuckerberg to appear before all committees that ask him to do so, the Associated Press reports. The Facebook chief testified to Congress earlier this year in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, and he's faced questions in the European Parliament, but he has repeatedly turned down requests from UK politicians to do the same there. Damian Collins, the chair of the UK parliament's media committee and the man who will head the international committee when it convenes November 27th, said five parliaments were now urging Zuckerberg "to do the right thing by the 170 million users in the countries they represent. " In a statement, Collins said, "Mark Zuckerberg has set himself the personal challenge of 'fixing' Facebook this year to prevent its misuse in our democratic process. By being unwilling to face questions about his progress, doubts about his ability to do so remain."