A member of the British Parliament on Sunday accused executives of Facebook of deliberately misleading the government by understating the risk of Facebook users’ profile data being shared without their knowledge or approval.
“It’s time for Mark Zuckerberg to stop hiding behind his Facebook page,” said Conservative legislator Damian Collins, who heads the British Parliament’s media committee. He said he would formally request that Facebook CEO Zuckerberg or another Facebook executive testify in front of his committee which is holding hearings on social media disinformation,”fake news” and misuse of data.
Collins said his preference is that Zuckerberg personally testify. His panel is looking into how supposedly private Facebook data was used in not only political campaigns but also the Brexit referendum that caused the U.K. to vote to leave the European Union.
Collins said Facebook executives have “consistently understated” the risk of data leaks and have given misleading answers to the committee. “Someone has to take responsibility for this,” he said.
Collins has also made claims that the CEO of U.K.-based Cambridge Analytica, Alexander Nix, has provided false testimony. Nix told Collins’ committee in February that his firm had not received data from a researcher accused of obtaining millions of Facebook users’ personal information. Collins said that he has evidence that this statement by Nix is not true.
In the U.S. Congress, Senator Amy Klobuchar from Minnesota posted on Twitter her opinion that Zuckerberg needs to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
“This is a major breach that must be investigated,” Klobuchar, a member of the committee, said. “It’s clear these platforms can’t police themselves.”
The top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, Senator Mark Warner of Virginia, expressed his agreement with Klobuchar.
“This is more evidence that the online political advertising market is essentially the Wild West,” Warner said. “It’s clear that, left unregulated, this market will continue to be prone to deception and lacking in transparency.”
Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey also expressed her opinion on Twitter that “Massachusetts residents deserve answers” and made an announcement that an investigation would begin by the Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General.
Facebook said it is investigating reported “connections between Cambridge Analytica and one of its employees.”