Mark Zuckerberg Skirted Facebook Monopoly Questions (Again), Infuriated EU Lawmakers

Mark Zuckerberg Skirted Facebook Monopoly Questions (Again), Infuriated EU Lawmakers

Mark Zuckerberg Skirted Facebook Monopoly Questions (Again), Infuriated EU Lawmakers

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg held the next step of his worldwide apology tour on Tuesday, when he met with lawmakers at the European Parliament in Brussels to discuss privacy and personal data concerns in wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

At a meeting at the EU Parliament, Zuckerberg repeated what he's been telling every audience recently: that his company didn't take a broad enough view of its responsibility for user data, fake news and foreign interference in elections and that he is sorry for that. Philippe Lamberts, Co-Chair of the Greens/European Free Alliance asked six pointed yes or no questions on a range of issues including whether Facebook will offer users a way to opt out of targeted advertising, Facebook's status as a media company, and implored Zuck to release information on the company's daily operations.

Commenting on allegations of political bias, Zuckerberg said Facebook was dedicated to being a platform for all ideas: "I can commit to you here today that we have never and will not make decisions about what content is allowed or how we do ranking on the basis of a political orientation".

"We want to work with third-party fact checkers", Zuckerberg said.

Zuckerberg said investments in security would significantly impact Facebook's profitability, but "keeping people safe will always be more important than doubling our profits".

The hearing came as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), stringent new rules European Union regulating the collection, storage, and use of private data, go into effect at the end of the week. But when it came to what must have been his primary intention with the hearing, namely convincing lawmakers that Facebook doesn't need even stricter regulation, he fell short.

"Will you promise there will no cross-use of user data between Facebook and WhatsApp?".

In a follow-up press conference, Mr Tajani added that the MEPs had been aware Mr Zuckerberg's time was limited yet had chose to use up much of the allotted period speaking themselves. "Zuckerberg did not answer numerous direct questions put to him, and the few answers that we heard were disappointing".

He had earlier asked for closed-doors testimony.

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Zuckerberg said Facebook has developed a series of features, including artificial intelligence tools, to tackle the problem.

"The Street has stepped away from the edge of the cliff over the last month on Facebook as the combination of stronger than expected March results, an impressive performance by Zuckerberg in DC, and the fears of regulation starting to fade in the background have been catalysts for a major rebound in shares", Ives wrote.

Zuckerberg also pledged to keep investing in Europe as he made the latest stop on a tour of contrition over the Cambridge Analytica scandal that began in the U.S. Congress in April.

Mark Zuckerberg's Tuesday meeting with European Parliament was a hot mess, to say the least.

Facebook recently transferred 1.5 billion of its worldwide users from the jurisdiction of its European headquarters, in Ireland, to that of its United States headquarters, with some speculating this was to avoid costly legal action resulting from breaches of the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

"We need more answers in the next days", he said. Verhofstadt wanted more information about the army of Facebook reviewers.

Zuckerberg will go on to meet French President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday but has so far declined to appear in front of British lawmakers.

Some of the sharpest queries came from Belgian member Guy Verhofstadt, who called out Zuckerberg for Facebook's long history of apologizing for its mistakes and then failing to actually correct them.

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