Zuckerberg’s Tuesday Meeting With EU To Be Live Broadcast

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelance and long standing contributor to TechWeek Europe

Anger at closed-door meeting results in revised decision to live broadcast Mark Zuckerberg’s visit with EU parliament

The meeting between Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg and the European Parliament will be broadcast live it has been confirmed.

Zuckerberg will meet European officials on Tuesday – a visit that had been intended as a closed door meeting.

But the decision to hold the meeting with the European Parliament behind closed doors had angered some European officials. Guy Verhofstadt, the liberal leader, for example said he would boycott the meeting unless it was public, asking why it could not be streamed on Facebook Live.

EU, Europe © Virginija Valatkiene Shutterstock 2012

Broadcast live

But now in an apparent u-turn, Parliament President Antonio Tajani tweeted that it was “great news” that Zuckerberg had agreed to a live web stream of the meeting.

“I have personally discussed with Facebook CEO Mr Zuckerberg the possibility of webstreaming meeting with him,” tweeted Tajani. “I am glad to announce that he has accepted this new request. Great news for EU citizens. I thank him for the respect shown towards EP. Meeting tomorrow from 18:15 to 19:30.”

“We’re looking forward to the meeting and happy for it to be live streamed,” a Facebook spokeswoman meanwhile told Reuters.

Besides meeting the European Parliament in Brussels from 6.15 p.m. (1615 GMT) on Tuesday, Zuckerberg will also meet French President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday.

Zuckerberg is likely to be questioned closely over its role in the Cambridge Analytica data sharing scandal.

British snub?

Meanwhile across the channel, Zuckerberg has declined to appear before the British parliamentary committee investigating the matter.

British MPs are very unhappy that Zuckerberg decided to send his chief technical officer, Mike Schroepfer, to appear before the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee.

They said his testimony continued to leave “significant gaps” in answers it has provided to Parliament.

British MPs also said that Schroepfer didn’t fully answer other questions, including who was in charge when the company chose in 2015 not to disclose to users that it had discovered the leak, and who knew about the issue in February 2018, when the committee questioned Facebook before newspapers made the leak public in March.

Committee chair Damian Collins MP said it was “disappointing” that Facebook had not answered questions with a “sufficient level of detail and transparency”.

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