Mark Zuckerberg dodges punches at European Parliament

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The European parliament initially invited Zuckerberg to testify a month ago, but the CEO only agreed to come to Brussels last week.

Several EU politicians brought up previous questions Zuckerberg ducked during two USA congressional hearings in April in Washington D.C. Similar to the EU parliamentary hearing, the US congressional hearings were meant to look into Facebook's response to the Cambridge Analytica scandal, which involved an academic obtaining and selling Facebook user data to a political consulting firm, and the company's repeated privacy blunders that forced its executives to repeatedly apologize and pledge to do better.

Lukasz Olejnik, a security researcher, tweeted: "Not sure if the intent of the European Parliament was offering space and time to improve the image of Facebook following the Congressional hearing, but it worked".

Some European politicians were angered by the format of the meeting, which allowed Mr. Zuckerberg to hear all questions in advance and then choose which ones to answer. In April, it emerged that Facebook moved the responsibility for all non-U.S. and Canadian accounts - which total 1.5 billion - from Ireland, where the GDPR has jurisdiction, to California, where it does not.


He also said that Facebook is ready to follow GDPR, which includes rules like making companies get consent if they plan to use an European Union resident's personal data. Zuckerberg met with the panel even as he continues to avoid invitations from a British parliamentary committee to appear and speak about the Cambridge Analytica data scandal that rocked the United Kingdom and the US.

Zuckerberg has apologised for the leak in testimony to the US Congress, but questions remain over how the company's data policies let the leak happen.

CEO apologized for the company's mistakes but angered European lawmakers by dodging their questions. The EU Parliament had the right questions, but a soft format that allowed #Zuckerberg to avoid the answers. "Questions were blatantly dodged on shadow profiles, sharing data between WhatsApp and Facebook, the ability to opt out of political advertising and the true scale of data abuse on the platform", he said. I am very sorry!

Then again, how detailed can you be when you have been given less than half an hour to answer huge, nearly existential, questions? "Or on the other hand, a genius who created a digital monster that is destroying our democracies and our societies". As he's done before, he assured the European politicians that Facebook now takes both issues seriously, but he stopped short of promising they won't arise again.


Some of the MEPs made it known that they've been paying attention to what Facebook and Zuckerberg have been doing and saying over the past few years and making a note of Zuckerberg's repetitive apologies over the past decade.

Zuckerberg stressed Facebook's commitment to Europe, where it will employ 10,000 people by the end of the year, he said.

What's more, Zuckerberg's comments to European lawmakers about the GDPR - expressing his support, while rolling out the tools necessary to comply in order to appear ahead of the game - bear a striking similarity to something Zuckerberg told CNN's Laurie Seagall in March.

Facebook recently transferred 1.5 billion of its global users from the jurisdiction of its European headquarters, in Ireland, to that of its U.S. headquarters, with some speculating this was to avoid costly legal action resulting from breaches of the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).


Some of the sharpest queries came from Belgian member Guy Verhofstadt, who called out Zuckerberg for Facebook's long history of apologizing for its mistakes and then failing to actually correct them.

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