Mark Zuckerberg has agreed to give evidence to the European Parliament, despite the Facebook founder repeatedly rejecting requests from UK MPs to be submit to questioning.
In his third appearance in front of politicians since the Cambridge Analytica data scandal hit the tech giant, having attended two sessions in the US Congress. Mr Zuckerberg will appear behind closed doors in Brussels before a committee of politicians and senior EU officials.
It was confirmed by president of the European parliament Antonio Tajani who declared web giants should be held responsible for “blatantly false news and illegal content”.
Tajani said: "The founder and chief executive of Facebook has accepted our invitation and will be in Brussels as soon as possible, hopefully already next week, to meet the leaders of the political groups and the Chair and the Rapporteur of the Committee for Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs.
"I welcome Mark Zuckerberg's decision to appear in person before the representatives of 500 million Europeans," the president added.
Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO and founder, has accepted our invitation. He will come to the European Parliament. My full statement ⤵️ pic.twitter.com/FdmuDPl8Wb— Antonio Tajani (@EP_President) May 16, 2018
On Wednesday, Guy Verhofstadt, the chief Brexit representative for the EU, said Mr Zuckerberg must appear before Brussels politicians in a public hearing and not “behind closed doors” after a private meeting was floated as an option.
Zuckerberg must appear before the @Europarl_EN under the same conditions as he did on Capitol Hill, in a public hearing before the LIBE committee and not in one or other restricted meeting behind closed doors. pic.twitter.com/PcFx0JOs8f— Guy Verhofstadt (@guyverhofstadt) May 15, 2018
The UK has threatened Zuckerberg with a formal summons if he were to set foot on UK soil in an attempt to get him to testify about the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
However in a letter on Monday, Facebook's UK head of public policy, Rebecca Stimson, replied that Zuckerberg still "has no plans to meet with the committee or travel to the UK at the present time."
In response, UK Parliament Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee chair Damian Collins expressed his disappointment, saying: "If Mark Zuckerberg truly recognises the 'seriousness' of these issues as they say they do, we would expect that he would want to appear in front of the Committee and answer questions that are of concern not only to Parliament, but Facebook's tens of millions of users in this country."
He added that the UK government could speak to Zuckerberg over a video link instead of questioning him in person.
On Wednesday, Christopher Wylie, a former Cambridge Analytica employee, appeared in front of the US senate to give evidence about the scope of the company's data collection.
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