Mark Zuckerberg Refuses Questioning Over Russia, Fake News

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The email, the first disclosure from a large cache of seized Facebook papers that MPs plan to release, was cited at an unprecedented "Grand Committee" of British and global lawmakers who questioned Lord Allan of Hallam, Facebook's European policy director.

The response drew muted chuckles in the room, packed with representatives from Britain, Canada, France, Belgium, Brazil, Ireland, Latvia, Argentina and Singapore.

Zuckerberg appeared before the European Parliament in May to discuss the Cambridge Analytica scandal, but the hearing was brief and the format allowed the Facebook CEO to side-step uncomfortable questions.

Allan was also forced to defend Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg, who has refused to appear before the British parliamentary inquiry despite repeated requests to do so. Zuckerberg has been questioned by American lawmakers, but he has so far not appeared before those of other nations.

Allan said there have been a "number of actions taken" against developers but added, "I don't have in front of me today all of the answers to all of the questions".

"I would expect some political grandstanding tomorrow and I would expect Facebook ... to resist any provocations", he said.


Facebook FB.O came under fire on Tuesday from lawmakers from several countries who accused the firm of undermining democratic institutions and left out an empty chair for chief executive Mark Zuckerberg after he declined to be questioned.

Six4Three obtained the internal Facebook emails through legal mechanisms in the United States, where the company is involved in court action against the social media giant.

An worldwide parliamentary panel hearing comprising of members from nine countries got together today to grill Facebook for its inability to combat fake news and manipulation of facts on its platform.

Canadian Parliament member Nathaniel Erskine-Smith said it is "unfortunate" Zuckerberg was not there, adding that it "speaks to a failure to account for the loss of trust certainly across the globe with respect to Facebook".

Legal documents show how the investigation by British MPs has led them to seize documents relating to Facebook from app developer Six4Three, which is in a legal dispute with Facebook. According to internal company documents, a Facebook engineer warned the social media giant of a data issue involving Russian Federation in 2014 - earlier than Facebook has previously publicly admitted. "The engineers who had flagged these initial concerns subsequently looked into this further and found no evidence of specific Russian activity", a spokeswoman said.

Collins said the committee would not release the documents on Tuesday.


"We are not asking you to be ideal", Angus said.

Allan responded by saying: "Any information you have seen... is at best partial and at worst potentially misleading".

An investigative piece published last week by The New York Times said Facebook misled the public about what it knew about Russia's election meddling and used a PR firm to spread negative stories about other Silicon Valley companies and thus deflect anger away from itself.

Six4Three obtained the internal Facebook emails through legal mechanisms in the U.S., where the company is involved in court action against the social media giant.

"You are the arbiter right now of the news cycle around the world because of your video metrics", Angus said.


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