Zuckerberg to meet with EU Parliament leaders


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Mark Zuckerberg may not have plans to travel to the U.K., where he is refusing demands to address the county’s lawmakers in-person, but he will soon fly to Brussels to meet with leaders of the European Union’s Parliament, a Facebook spokesperson confirmed Wednesday. 

Antonio Tajani, President of the European Parliament, announced the planned meeting Wednesday. 

“The founder and CEO of Facebook has accepted our invitation and will be in Brussels as soon as possible, hopefully already next week,” Antonio Tajani, President of the European Parliament, said in a statement. Zuckerberg will meet privately with members of the European Parliament’s Committee for Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs, as well as party leaders.

In a statement to CBS News, Facebook confirmed the planned meeting.

“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,” a company spokesperson said. 

The announcement comes just two days after Zuckerberg declined a similar invitation from members of Britain’s Parliament, where the company’s chief technology officer, Mike Schroepfer, endured hours of withering criticism amid questioning over the company’s handling of advertising and data before the “Brexit” vote in June 2016.

After Schroepfer’s April 26 testimony, Zuckerberg was sent a list of 39 questions that the U.K. Parliament’s Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee said Schroepfer had failed to adequately answer. 

Rebecca Stimson, Facebook U.K.’s head of public policy, sent the committee responses to each question Monday, but wrote that Zuckerberg “has no plans to meet with the committee or travel to the U.K. at the present time.”

The committee’s chair, Damian Collins, criticized Zuckerberg’s decision to not appear before the U.K. Parliament.

“If Mark Zuckerberg truly recognizes the ‘seriousness’ of these issues … we would expect that he would want to appear in front of the Committee and answer questions that are of concern not only to Parliament, but Facebook’s tens of millions of users in this country,” Collins said. 

Zuckerberg’s meeting at E.U. Parliament leaders is scheduled just days ahead of the May 25 implementation of a new data protection law in the European Union that will allow citizens to ask companies for the data kept on them.

Reuters reports that Zuckerberg also plans to meet with French President Emmanuel Macron.


Got news tips about digital privacy, social media or online marketing? Email this reporter at KatesG@cbsnews.com, or for encrypting messaging, grahamkates@protonmail.com (PGP fingerprint: 4b97 34aa d2c0 a35d a498 3cea 6279 22f8 eee8 4e24).    

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