Mark Zuckerberg might be laying low right now, but a UK government department just sent him a letter requesting him to appear before a committee to give evidence. And, yes, that evidence does indeed pertain to Facebook’s relationship to the political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica.
The House of Commons Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee (DCMS) sent Zuckerberg a letter stating that the request came “following material published in the UK Guardian and The New York Times over the past few days.”
ICYMI, both aforementioned publications published explosive reports alleging that Cambridge Analytica used 50 million Facebook users personal data without their say-so during the U.S. election.
In the letter, Damian Collins MP, chair of the DCMS committee, wrote that Facebook’s officials had been “repeatedly” asked questions about what happens to its data, and each time officials had been “misleading.”
“The Committee has repeatedly asked Facebook about how companies acquire and hold on to user data from their site, and in particular about whether data had been taken without their consent,” reads the letter,” read the letter.
“Your officials’ answers have consistently understated this risk, and have been misleading to the Committee.
The letter said the time had come for a “senior Facebook executive with sufficient authority” to provide an “accurate account of this catastrophic failure of process.” Oof.
There is a strong public interest test regarding user protection. Accordingly we are sure you will understand the need for a representative from right at the top of the organisation to address concerns. Given your commitment at the start of the New Year to “fixing” Facebook, I hope that this representative will be you.
The letter asked Zuck to provide a response by Monday 26 March.
In an accompanying press release, a spokesperson for DCMS wrote that Facebook representatives had previously given evidence to the inquiry at Washington DC in February, but has “since failed to supply requested supplementary evidence to the committee by the deadline.”
But, the new information about “Facebook’s connection to Cambridge Analytica” has raised “further questions” for the DCMS. Questions which the DCMS says it “intends to put to Facebook to answer in full.”
Over to you, Zuck.