Mark Zuckerberg has snubbed British lawmakers, refusing to travel to the UK to answer questions relating to his company’s role in the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
However, Facebook’s CEO agreed to testify before the US Congress to explain how a British political consultancy like Cambridge Analytica got its hands on data of around 50 million Facebook users.
Zuckerberg is to attend a US hearing on the data breach scandal on 10 April as revealed by Republican Senator Chuck Grassley, who is also the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Earlier, the committee’s chair Damian Collins had specifically called for Zuckerberg to answer queries regarding the latest data scandal at Facebook. Collins still hopes that Zuckerberg could make it to the UK to attend the hearing, considering the grave nature of the allegations made on Facebook and Cambridge Analytica.
“We believe, given the serious nature of the allegations that have been made, that it is appropriate that Mr. Mark Zuckerberg should give evidence to the committee,” Collins said. “I would certainly urge him to think again if he has any care for people that use his company’s services.”
The Facebook CEO has been called three times to meet with the UK committee, but has rejected each offer. Instead, Facebook has said it would prefer to send one of its two senior executives to testify before the lawmakers, post Easter. Facebook’s CTO Mike Schroepfer or its CPO Chris Cox is likely to appear before the UK parliament’s media committee.
Earlier this month, there was a major political storm across the US, India, the UK and Brazil among other countries as the data breach scandal hit headlines. This was after Christopher Wylie, an ex-employee at Cambridge Analytica turned into a whistleblower to spill the beans.
The New York Times and The Guardian came up with detailed reports on the massive scandal through inputs provided by Wylie, while other publications across the world followed them, leaving not only Facebook and Cambridge Analytica, but also several politicians and political parties in a soup.
Facebook, which had apologised for the situation, has come under the scanner for compromising the privacy of nearly 50 million users of its social media platform. The scandal seems to have begun in 2014 when Cambridge Analytica started gathering data of millions of Facebook users and use them to influence voter opinion for its politician clients.