Mark Zuckerberg Extends Facebook Apology Tour With European Gig

23 May, 2018, 10:36 | Author: Arnold Perez
  • Facebook's Zuckerberg grilled by EU Parliament over data scandal

The MEPs also wondered whether or not Zuckerberg or anyone inside Facebook could even fix the company's many issues, which range from data leaks to fake news, election manipulation, hate speech, and so on.

But the event, which lasted an hour and a half, saw Zuckerberg fail to satisfy European demands for answers and the European Parliament roundly mocked for using a format that let the Facebook boss get away with it. MEPs asked all their questions before the Facebook boss had to respond, leaving them with no time to follow up.

For the better part of the meeting, which was scheduled to last a little over an hour, the politicians lobbed their questions and reflections on technology at Zuckerberg, who, at the end, repeated talking points he's given to USA lawmakers, journalists, and investors over the past several months.

The European Parliament's President Antonio Tajani opened proceedings by saying that EU citizens "deserved a detailed explanation" of how the scandal occurred and expressed concerns ahead of EU elections.

"I believe deeply in what we're doing".

"Is it time to break Facebook's monopoly because there's already too much power in one company's hands?" "Can you convince me not to do so?"

Guy Verhofstadt, a Belgian MEP who leads the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe, reminded Mr. Zuckerberg that he has already apologized "15 or 16 times in the last decade" for Facebook's past missteps.

As a result, Tajani said, lawmakers would press the Facebook chief executive to address follow-ups in writing soon.

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Asked how the format was selected, a Facebook spokesperson tells me it was decided by the European Parliament.

"I'm the largest user of Facebook in all of the European Union institutions in terms of engagement, in terms of followers", he said.

The Facebook CEO used his short answer period to explain that he feels like there's plenty of new competition for Facebook, and that it actually aids competition by offering tools to enable small businesses to challenge big brands online. "It's something that levels the playing field", he said. He added that the company had taken the same step with data it has collected about Europeans who are not Facebook users. She previously fined Facebook €110-million ($166-million) for misleading statements about its acquisition of messaging service WhatsApp, slapped Google with a massive €2.4-billion ($3.6-billion) fine for abusing its position as the internet's dominant search engine to favour its own comparison shopping service and ordered Apple to pay €13-billion ($19-billion) in unpaid taxes.

The moves are part of a long list of actions by European regulators against US -based tech giants.

Zuckerberg acknowledged that regulators are likely more interested in the consumer choice aspect, though he pointed out that Facebook allows for small businesses to promote themselves in "sophisticated ways.that previously only large businesses had the means to do".

The European and US inquiries concern the same fundamental questions about the social media giant, triggered by the news that Facebook permitted Cambridge Analytica to harvest the private data of 87 million users and that Facebook failed to take action when it became clear in 2016 that foreign actors were using its platform to spread disinformation and undermine democratic processes.

The founder of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg has been asked about the suicide of a Northern Ireland schoolboy when being questioned by MEPs. But many others were also passed by, including anti-trust questions and queries about how the company treats its users.

Damian Collins, the chair of the British inquiry that has repeatedly asked Zuckerberg to appear before parliament, described the session as "an hour of questions, followed by a lengthy statement from Zuckerberg, with all hard questions dodged".



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