There is a big storm currently blowing over Facebook headquarters after it emerged that Cambridge Analytica obtained data on 50 million users. The social network’s damage control game has never been tasked yet like it is currently, with the founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg doing one meeting after the other in person. Trying to explain to users that they are still in control and that their data is safe and secure.
Well, the latest call for an in-person explanation from Zuckerberg come from the UK parliamentary committee who are also currently investigating the social network and the security of users’ data. On March 20th, the DCMS committee sent a letter to Zuckerberg summoning him to appear before them in person to explain the allegation that Cambridge Analytica obtained millions of Facebook user private data.
The letter came hot on the heels of a Feb 8th explanation by Simon Milner, a Facebook policy staff who said Cambridge Analytica “may have lots of data, but it will not be Facebook user data… It may be data about people who are on Facebook that they have gathered themselves, but it is not data that we have provided.”
Damian Collins, the chair of the UK parliamentary committee, accuses Facebook officials of consistently understating the threat to user data being obtained without authorization.
“It is now time that I hear from a senior Facebook executive with the sufficient authority to give an accurate account of this catastrophic failure of process,” said Collins in the letter sent to Zuckerberg.
Mark Zuckerberg refuses the summon and instead send representatives
It will appear that this scandal is not something Zuckerberg and team and sweep under the carpet hoping everyone will forget about it soon. It is a scandal of big magnitude, but despite that fact, Zuckerberg has declined summon by the UK parliamentary committee. Instead, Facebook will send other senior representatives of the company to the committee.
In a statement addressing the letter to CEO, a spokesperson for the social network replied to the letter as follows:
“We have responded to Mr Collins and the DCMS and offered for two senior company representatives from our management team to meet with the Committee depending on timings most convenient for them. Mike Schroepfer is Chief Technology Officer and is responsible for Facebook’s technology including the company’s developer platform. Chris Cox is Facebook’s Chief Product Officer and leads development of Facebook’s core products and features including News Feed. Both Chris Cox and Mike Schroepfer report directly to Mark Zuckerberg and are among the longest-serving senior representatives in Facebook’s 15-year history.”
The parliamentary committee had a hearing from Chris Wylie, the whistleblower who blew the lid off what Cambridge Analytica was doing. Before Wylie’s statement, Collins made another statement saying the committee will still want to hear personally from Zuckerberg, even if it meant over a video link.
“We will seek to clarify with Facebook whether he is available to give evidence or not because that wasn’t clear from our correspondence. If he is available to give evidence, then we will be happy to do that either in person or by video link if that will be more convenient for him,” said Collins.