by Shona Ghosh
- Facebook will face a double grilling from European lawmakers starting Tuesday over the Cambridge Analytica scandal, its role in election interference, and its attitude to new privacy laws.
- CEO Mark Zuckerberg will meet politicians in a live-streamed session on Tuesday, while Sheryl Sandberg could be quizzed by the EU’s Civil Liberties Committee.
- Zuckerberg is expected to apologise for Facebook’s failure to take more responsibility for people’s personal data, according to prepared remarks seen by The New York Times.
- Civil Liberties Committee chair and British MEP Claude Moraes fought for Zuckerberg’s meeting to be streamed and told Business Insider that politicians are unafraid to ask tough questions.
- Moraes said UK Parliament had been too “aggressive” towards Mark Zuckerberg, and that’s probably why he’s refused to appear before British politicians.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg will apologise to European lawmakers today during a meeting where politicians will grill him about the firm’s mishandling of user data.
It is expected that he will be flanked by another executive who will be quizzed in a second public meeting by the EU’s civil liberties committee.
Zuckerberg will appear on Tuesday evening before the Conference of Presidents, which is made up of the European Parliament’s political group leaders and the European President.
He’ll be asked about the Cambridge Analytica data scandal, Facebook’s role in election interference, and its attitude to new European privacy laws. The event will be live-streamed through the European Parliament’s website at 6.15 p.m. CEST, according to a spokesman.
According to prepared remarks seen by The New York Times, Zuckerberg will apologise for Facebook’s role in leaking 87 million users’ details to Cambridge Analytica.
“Whether it’s fake news, foreign interference in elections or developers misusing people’s information, we didn’t take a broad enough view of our responsibilities,” he is expected to say. “That was a mistake, and I’m sorry.”
It’s the second time Zuckerberg will be apologising to lawmakers after he appeared before the US Congress and Senate last month.
He will also say that Facebook is committed to Europe, citing the company’s European headquarters in Ireland and its engineering hub in London.
A Facebook spokesperson said: “We have accepted the Conference of President’s proposal to meet with leaders of the European Parliament and appreciate the opportunity for dialogue, to listen to their views and show the steps we are taking to better protect people’s privacy.”
There has been some controversy around the fact that Zuckerberg did not originally plan to testify in public.
Lawmakers will ask tough questions
Claude Moraes, a British MEP and chair of the Civil Liberties Committee (LIBE), will be present in the meeting and is among the lawmakers who successfully campaigned for the closed hearing to be streamed.
He said it wasn’t clear why the Conference of Presidents decided to hold the meeting privately. Parliament President Antonio Tajani defended the decision and fought back at critics, but U-turned on Monday.