This year, Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, appeared in the United States Senate to answer questions about the scandal involving Cambridge Analytica, but he declined similar requests from legislators in the UK and Canada. Politicians in such countries were not satisfied and are coming together to hold a joint hearing on fake news and the internet.
Through a letter to the head of Facebook, signed by British parliamentarian Damian Collins and Canadian deputy Bob Zimmer, Zuckerberg was asked to answer questions from a "major international committee on misinformation and false news" at an event in London on 27 November.
"We understand that it is not possible to be available to all parliaments," write Collins and Zimmer. "However, we believe that its users in other countries need a line of responsibility for their organization – directly, on their own account. We would have thought that this responsibility is something you would like to take on."
According to the letter, there were no international committees examining Facebook's role in spreading disinformation until today, even with the international impact of its platform.
The UK hearing is being organized by a select committee of the House of Commons (named after a group of parliamentarians working together to produce reports on specific topics). Facebook has already been fined by the UK data watchdog, and earlier this week, the government outlined plans for a new "digital tax" on major technology companies.
Collins leads the UK's Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, while Zimmer leads the Canadian Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics.
"In view of your self-declared goal of 'fixing' Facebook and avoiding the malicious use of the platform in world affairs and the democratic process, we would like to give you the chance to attend this audience," write Collins and Zimmer. " we plan to issue final reports on this issue by the end of this December 2018. The hearing for your test is now delayed and urgent ".