The Press and Journal (Inverness, Highlands, and Islands)
Pressure on social media chief to testify
The chairman of the parliamentary inquiry into fake news has threatened Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg with a formal summons to give evidence before the inquiry in person.
The move came after an “unsatisfactory” hearing with another Facebook executive yesterday.
In a statement following nearly five hours of testimony from Facebook’s chief technical officer Mike Schroepfer, chairman Damian Collins said Mr Schroepfer “failed to answer many specific and detailed questions” about the company’s role in a number of scandals about how political campaigns use the platform.
“Committee will resolve to issue a formal summons”
“As an American citizen living in California, Mr Zuckerberg does not normally come under the jurisdiction of the UK Parliament, but he will the next time he enters the country.
“We hope that he will respond positively to our request, but if not the committee will resolve to issue a formal summons for him to appear when he is next in the UK,” Mr Collins said.
Earlier, Mr Schroepfer told the committee that Aggregate IQ, a Canadian firm employed by multiple Brexit campaign groups, spent £1.4 million on political adverts on Facebook targeting the EU referendum, but had used “email lists” to target voters rather than Facebook data.
If a formal summons is issued and Mr Zuckerberg refuses he could technically be in contempt of parliament.
However, according to a green paper on parliamentary privilege, “the House’s power to punish non-members for contempt is untested in recent times”.