Mark Zuckerberg will appear before the EU Parliament in person to answer questions about Facebook’s use of data.
The hearing will “hopefully” take place as early as next week, according to Antonio Tajani, the president of the European Parliament.
EU politicians are set to grill Facebook’s chief executive regarding the improper use of 87 million users’ data by Cambridge Analytica.
Facebook had told the body that 2.7 million people in the bloc could have been affected by the data-sharing scandal involving Cambridge Analytica.
More than a million of these victims are believed to be in the UK, but Mr Zuckerberg has so far refused to appear before British MPs, in a move they describe as “absolutely astonishing”.
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Image: The Facebook CEO previously appeared before US Congress regarding the scandal
Mr Tajani said: “The founder and CEO of Facebook has accepted our invitation and will be in Brussels as soon as possible, hopefully already next week.”
He is expected to meet EU party leaders as well as members of the EU Parliament’s civil liberties committee as part of his evidence session.
Although the scandal-hit Cambridge Analytica has since collapsed, regulators in the UK say they are continuing their investigation into the how the company harvested data from millions of Facebook users.
Both Mr Zuckerberg and Facebook have been consistently criticised by the the digital, culture, media, and sport committee for submitting “insufficient” evidence to an inquiry considering how the company handles British citizens’ data.
MPs said it was “absolutely astonishing” that Facebook’s chief executive refused to appear before the committee.
Committee chair Damian Collins was in session when the announcement broke and was not immediately available for comment.
Image: Damian Collins MP has criticised Facebook’s response to UK parliamentarians
Mr Zuckerberg is likely meet EU politicians in the same week as he attends a summit in France with President Emmanuel Macron.
Mr Macron’s office has said he will meet Facebook’s chief executive alongside more than a dozen others from leading technology firms at a summit in Paris designed to drive investment.
He has also signalled his intention to push for an EU-wide tax on digital turnover and has called for tougher laws to tackle fake news.
“There will be tough discussions,” an official in Mr Macron’s office told Reuters, adding that the pair would have a one-to-one meeting allowing the topic to be broached in a “very frank” manner.
Image: Cambridge Analytica whistleblower Christopher Wylie
Mr Zuckerberg’s appearance before EU politicians comes just ahead of the bloc’s new data protection laws, which Facebook has said it will only implement within its jurisdiction – standing in contrast to Apple, which has said it will apply the same privacy standards worldwide.
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It also comes as Christopher Wylie, a former worker at Cambridge Analytica, is to testify before the US Senate Judiciary Committee regarding the handling of Facebook users’ data by the social media company and his former employer.
When Mr Wylie appeared before MPs he claimed to have “three binders of evidence” on Cambridge Analytica’s involvement with Vote Leave during the UK’s EU referendum.