Zuckerberg comes to Europe to answer Facebook criticisms

Zuckerberg comes to Europe to answer Facebook criticisms
By Robert Hackwill
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The social media boss will be questioned by the heads of the political groups in the European Parliament in a session that will be livestreamed to the public.


Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg had to answer to the US Congress for his company's business methods, and many in Europe's parliament resent him snubbing them. Instead Zuckerberg is quizzed today by its Conference of Presidents, the leaders of all the parliamentary groups. Originally scheduled to take place behind closed doors, after an outcry it is being streamed live.

To watch the event, click here.

'What is he going to do to change the business model of Facebook so that that kind of data abuse won't happen again?' says the leader of the Leader of Green party/EFA, Belgian Philippe Lamberts.

These and other questions will be asked of Zuckerberg, who has as yet failed to convince critics that Facebook is bringing its house in order. Some say it is far-fetched to expect him to.

"Facebook has pulled the wool over the European Commission's eyes, and still manages despite these scandals to present itself as a trusted partner. As a benign digital giant that is going to take us into the future, building our digital economy rather than a self-interested profit-maximising corporation who is ready to throw us under the bus in order to get its data collected and sold," says a researcher at the Corporate Europe Observatory, Pascoe Sabido.

So much about Facebook is stealthy that while consumers may accept the trade-off between site use and snooping, the fact that Facebook never sleeps, even when you have logged out, or even if you haven't joined, is disturbing.

"Most people don't realise this but Facebook collects information not just when you're on the website, not just if you are a Facebook user, but also when you visit websites outside of Facebook. It does this regardless of whether you're signed up, and regardless or not whether you're logged in," says a legal advisor at Belgium's Privacy Commission, Brendan Van Alsenoy.

Europe has more Facebook users than the US, and so expects Zuckerberg to be accountable.

Zuckerberg’s visit coincides with the entry into force of the GDPR, or General Data Protection Regulation, this Friday. But the internet battles are not over. Next up are the e-privacy regulation and the expected proposals on fake news, both of which could significantly impact our relationship to the web, and its correlating effects on the way we consume and vote.

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