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Canadian, British lawmakers call for Zuckerberg to talk data privacy

By Clyde Hughes
Canadian, British lawmakers call for Zuckerberg to talk data privacy
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was invited Wednesday to testify before British and Canadian lawmakers on data privacy. Photo by Erin Schaff/UPI | License Photo

Oct. 31 (UPI) -- Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg has been asked by British and Canadian lawmakers to testify next month about the social media giant's data privacy.

The invitation to speak was made in a letter signed by Damian Collins, chair of Britain's Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee, and Bob Zimmer, chair of Canada's Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics.

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"Over the past year, our committees have both sought evidence from a Facebook executive with sufficient authority to give an accurate account of recent failures of process, including the recent Cambridge Analytica scandal and subsequent data breaches," Collins and Zimmer wrote in the letter, dated Wednesday.

"You have chosen instead to send less senior representatives, and have not yourself appeared, despite having taken up invitations from the U.S. Congress and Senate, and the European Parliament. ... However, we believe that your users in other countries need a line of accountability to your organization - directly, via yourself."

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Zuckerberg testified in U.S. Congress and European Parliament, but sent other senior representatives to answer British and Canadian lawmakers. He said at the time he wanted to send top Facebook executives "at the most senior levels of the company" who were in "an authoritative position."

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Facebook is still answering for data privacy issues that led to the Cambridge Analytica scandal, which compromised the personal information of as many as 87 million users.

In Facebook's quarterly earnings call Tuesday, Zuckerberg told investors the company will focus less on its "news feed" -- and more on video, messaging and its "Stories" platform, which allows users to post full-screen videos and photos that disappear after one day.

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"I just think that this is the future," Zuckerberg told investors. "People want to share in ways that don't stick around permanently, and I want to make sure that we fully embrace this."

Facebook said it's also closely watching so-called hate groups. Tuesday, it said it has banned members and affiliate groups of one such group, called the Proud Boys.

The group, which is listed as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, was connected with a violent attack against protesters in New York City this month.

"Our team continues to study trends in organized hate and hate speech and works with partners to better understand hate organizations as they evolve," a Facebook representative said in a statement.

"We ban these organizations and individuals from our platforms and also remove all praise and support when we become aware of it. We will continue to review content, Pages, and people that violate our policies, take action against hate speech and hate organizations to help keep our community safe."

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