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Mark Zuckerberg will meet with representatives of the European Parliament to “clarify issues related to the use of personal data,” according to a tweet this morning from the European Parliament’s president, Antonio Tajani.
Tajani said that Zuckerberg will be in Brussels “as soon as possible, hopefully already next week, to meet the leaders of the political groups and the Chair and the Rapporteur of the Committee for Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs.”
“Parliament’s priority is to ensure the proper functioning of the digital market, with a high level of protection for personal data, effective rules on copyright and the protection of consumer rights. Web giants must be responsible for the content they publish, including blatantly false news and illegal content,” he added.
A Facebook spokesperson confirmed to VentureBeat that “we have accepted the Council of President’s proposal to meet with leaders of the European Parliament and appreciate the opportunity for dialogue, to listen to their views and show the steps we are taking to better protect people’s privacy.”
The private meeting will be followed by a public hearing with representatives from Facebook and other companies, but the Washington Post reports that Zuckerberg is not expected to attend the public hearing.
General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will likely be on the agenda for the meeting, as the new data privacy regulations are set to go into effect on May 25.
Notably, the announcement comes as Zuckerberg has continued to reject calls to appear in front of the U.K. Parliament. Chief technology officer Mike Schroepfer did testify in front of the U.K. House of Commons’ Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport Committee (DCMS) last month. However, committee members were unsatisfied with Schroepfer’s answers, and they demanded that Zuckerberg testify this month or face summons the next time Zuckerberg entered the country. Facebook’s head of public policy Rebecca Stimson responded in a letter on Sunday that Zuckerberg “has no plans to meet with the committee or travel to the UK at the present time.”
Sending Zuckerberg to testify in front of the U.K. parliament would likely cause other countries to push more aggressively to get Zuckerberg to meet with their representatives whenever there is an issue with fake news, spam, or misuse of Facebook data by third party apps in their country.
Update on May 21, 7:30 a.m. Pacific: Antonio Tajani tweeted that Facebook will now let the EU parliament livestream its meeting with Zuckerberg.
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