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."
Facebook has declined a request to send CEO Mark Zuckerberg to testify before an international grand committee on the topic of fake news and disinformation — though the committee continues to grow. U.K. MP Damian Collins — one of the organizers of the committee, along with Canadian MP Bob Zimmer — tweeted this morning that Facebook declined the invitation last week. However, representatives from Australia, Argentina, and Ireland have now signed on to appear at the hearing, scheduled for November 27. This morning, Collins again reiterated the call for Facebook to send Zuckerberg, writing that five parliaments are now calling on you to do the right thing by the 170 million users in the countries they represent. Facebooks rejection letter stated that we continue to fully recognise the seriousness of these issues and remain committed to working with [your committees] to provide any additional information you require, but that it is not possible for Mr. Zuckerberg to be available to all Parliaments. 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 Zimmer and Collins — on behalf of the U.K. and Canadian parliaments — sent a letter to Facebook on October 31, asking them to send Zuckerberg to testify in front of a multi-country hearing in London. The hearing would look at Facebooks attempts to fight fake news and disinformation on its platform — something that other Facebook executives have discussed with the U.K. government. Over the last year Facebook has repeatedly rebuffed Collins requests to send Zuckerberg — to testify in front of a Parliament regarding the issue of fake news, and the improper harvesting of Facebook data conducted by now-defunct U.K. firm Cambridge Analytica. The U.K. Parliament even went so far as to say that Zuckerberg would face a formal summons to testify the next time he appeared in the country. Facebook noted that in the U.K .we provided multiple written submissions to this [Cambridge Analytica] inquiry, including responding to extensive written follow-up questions, senior Facebook staff gave evidence to the U.k. Committees session in Washington and one of the most senior people in the company has given 5 hours of testimony in the U.K. Parliament. After being stonewalled, Collins teamed up Zimmer, a Canadian MP who heads up a committee that focuses on digital media policy, to once again try to force Zuckerberg to appear. We understand that it is not possible to make yourself available to all parliaments. However, we believe that your users in other countries need a line of accountability to your organisation — directly, via yourself. Update, 9:04 a.m. Pacific: Updated with additional comments from Facebook.