Nov. 26 (UPI) -- The British Parliament forced an app developer to turn over internal communications from Facebook executives as the government seeks to hold CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg accountable for fake news and privacy violations on the platform.
The documents are alleged to contain revelations about Facebook's dealings with Cambridge Analytica, including confidential emails between Zuckerberg and senior leaders.
For months, Zuckerberg has refused to answer questions from members of parliament, prompting Damian Collins, chairman of the culture, media and sport select committee, to compel the founder of Six4Three to turn over the documents. The firm's founder had filed a lawsuit against Facebook.
Using a rare parliamentary power, Collins had a sergeant at arms visit the founder at his hotel and gave him a two-hour deadline to surrender the documents. When the founder, who was on a business trip to Britain, refused, he was escorted to Parliament and threatened with fines and jail time. He complied.
"We are in uncharted territory," Collins said. "This is an unprecedented move but it's an unprecedented situation. We've got to get answers from Facebook and we believe the documents contain information of very high public interest."
The British investigation will look into what Zuckerberg and other executives knew about the Cambridge Analytica, a political consulting firm based in London that is accused of harvesting personal information from 87 million Americans.
"We have very serious questions for Facebook. It misled us about Russian involvement on the platform," Collins said. "And it has not answered our questions about who knew what, when with regards to the Cambridge Analytica scandal."
The probe started as an investigation into fake news but has gone far beyond that.
A Facebook representative said Six4Three's "claims have no merit" and the social media giant will "defend ourselves vigorously."
Facebook argues that the documents seized by the government cannot be shared or made public because they are part of Six4Three's lawsuit in California. However, the British Parliament has jurisdiction in London, so they could be turned over legally.
The DCMS committee will meet Monday to consider publishing the documents. On Tuesday, Richard Allan, Facebook's European public policy chief and member of parliament, is scheduled to be cross-examined.
Six4Three is an app that highlights photos of women in bikinis.