20 Mar 2018
AP — A British parliamentary committee on Tuesday summoned Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to answer questions as authorities stepped up efforts to determine if the personal data of social-media users has been used improperly to influence elections.
The request comes amid allegations that a data-mining firm based in the U.K. used information from more than 50 million Facebook accounts to help Donald Trump win the 2016 presidential election.
The company, Cambridge Analytica, has denied wrongdoing.
However, the firm’s board of directions announced Tuesday evening that it had suspended CEO Alexander Nix pending an independent investigation of his actions.
Nix made comments to an undercover reporter for Britain’s Channel 4 News about various unsavory services Cambridge Analytica provided its clients.
“In the view of the board, Mr. Nix’s recent comments secretly recorded by Channel 4 and other allegations do not represent the values or operations of the firm and his suspension reflects the seriousness with which we view this violation,” the board said in a statement.
Facebook also drew continued criticism for its alleged inaction to protect users’ privacy.
Earlier Tuesday, the chairman of the U.K. parliamentary media committee, Damian Collins, said his group has repeatedly asked Facebook how it uses data and that Facebook officials “have been misleading to the committee.”
“It is now time to hear from a senior Facebook executive with the sufficient authority to give an accurate account of this catastrophic failure of process,” Collins wrote in a note addressed directly to Zuckerberg. “Given your commitment at the start of the New Year to ‘fixing’ Facebook, I hope that this representative will be you.”
Facebook sidestepped questions on whether Zuckerberg would appear, saying instead that it’s currently focused on conducting its own reviews.
The request to appear comes as Britain’s information commissioner said she was using all her legal powers to investigate the social-media giant and Cambridge Analytica.
Commissioner Elizabeth Denham is pursuing a warrant to search Cambridge Analytica’s servers. She has also asked Facebook to cease its own audit of Cambridge Analytica’s data use.
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