The UK’s ultimatum to Zuckerberg: Answer MPs or face summons
Mark Zuckerberg must be quite used to batting away requests on Facebook, but Damian Collins MP, chair of the parliamentary digital, culture, media and sport select committee is proving quite hard to shake.
In the fallout of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Collins issued a formal invitation for Mark Zuckerberg to give evidence before parliament about how this happened – kind of how he did recently in Washington. Zuckerberg quickly ticked the figurative “not attending box” in the UK, instead sending a surrogate: chief technology officer Mike Schroepfer, who faced a pretty tough grilling from MPs but failed to answer a number of key questions from lawmakers. And now Collins is demanding Zuckerberg show up to make amends – or else be compelled to attend the next time he steps foot on British territory.
“It is worth noting that, while Mr Zuckerberg does not normally come under the jurisdiction of the UK Parliament, he will do so the next time he enters the country,” Collins wrote in a letter to Facebook’s UK head of public policy. “We hope that he will respond positively to our request, but if not the Committee will resolve to issue a formal summons for him to appear when he is next in the UK.”
Arguing that Schroepfer had failed to answer at least 39 questions raised by the committee, Collins made the ultimatum: “Following reports that he will be giving evidence to the European Parliament in May, we would like Mr Zuckerberg to come to London during his European trip. We would like the session here to take place by 24 May.”
We are yet to see how Facebook will respond to this request – given the relative ease with which Zuckerberg was able to answer American lawmakers’ questions, it might just be easiest to show up then force parliament to keep an eye out for him at passport control.