Facebook nears deal for Zuckerberg to face European Parliament

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg may face members of European Parliament. 

James Martin/CNET

Facebook is close to a deal that would bring CEO Mark Zuckerberg to Brussels to answer questions from members of the European Parliament, according to a report by Politico. 

Earlier this month, Zuckerberg endured 10 hours of grilling over two days in the chambers of Congress. That followed the onset several weeks earlier of a spiraling scandal for Facebook triggered by reports about its lax rules and oversight over third-party developers’ treatment of your data. Lawmakers used that opportunity to seek answers from Facebook not only about the Cambridge Analytica incident, but also to pose broader questions about whether the social network presents a fundamental danger to personal privacy and society at large. 

(All the drama, though, doesn’t seem to have crimped Facebook’s ability to make mountains of money.)

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Zuckerberg is open to coming to the European Parliament but has some conditions about the hearing’s format, Politico reported Thursday, citing a single unnamed Parliament official. Parliament officials were working to to make accommodations, the report said.

Facebook is holding fire for the moment on who exactly might head to Brussels.

“We remain strongly committed to protecting people’s information and appreciate any opportunity to answer questions the European Parliament may have,” said a company spokeswoman. “As Mark Zuckerberg said, he wants to make sure the most senior members of his team answer the Parliament’s questions and explain the steps we have taken to protect our users’ data further.”

An appearance by Zuckerberg, if it does happen, would come just as the European Union begins to implement heightened standards for protecting personal data privacy. The General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR, will take effect next month and change the rules of the road for companies that collect, store or process large amounts of user information.

Meanwhile on Thursday, Facebook’s chief tech officer was in London facing questions from the UK government.

Cambridge Analytica: Everything you need to know about Facebook’s data mining scandal.

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