Politicians have issued Mark Zuckerberg with an ultimatum: appear before MPs to give evidence about the Cambridge Analytica scandal, or he’ll be issued with a summons next time he enters Britain.
The order comes after the Facebook founder sent a lieutenant to give evidence to the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee in April, despite appearing in person to US Congress. Zuckerberg is also reportedly due to speak before the European Parliament in May.
The frustrated culture committee chairman, Damian Collins, has written to Zuckerberg again to set out nearly 40 questions for him to answer.
Collins said he wanted the hearing to take place by 24 May and wrote: “Following reports that he will be giving evidence to the European Parliament in May, we would like Mr Zuckerberg to come to London during his European trip...
“It is worth noting that, while Mr Zuckerberg does not normally come under the jurisdiction of the UK Parliament, he will do so 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.”
The questions centre on political advertising and the misuse of data.
Cambridge Analytica, which has boasted about its work with the Donald Trump and Brexit campaigns, was accused of harvesting Facebook users’ and their friends’ data to give to political clients.
Questions include how many British Facebook users were contacted by “non-UK entities” via Facebook during the Brexit referendum and whether Facebook passed user data to Cambridge Analytica.
Select committees can compel people to appear as witnesses but only when they are in the UK. Collins has given Zuckerberg until 11 May to respond.
Facebook’s chief technical officer, Mike Schroepfer, testified before the committee on 26 April but Collins found his evidence “lacked many of the important details that we need”.
Collins has asked Facebook to answer almost 40 questions which he said Schroepfer “failed to answer fully” also by 11 May.
Collins added: “There are over 40 million Facebook users in the UK and they deserve to hear accurate answers from the company [Zuckerberg] created and whether it is able to keep their users’ data safe.”