Facebook’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg has been in the news recently for reportedly snubbing the UK Parliament's requests to testify to the nation’s committee investigating online disinformation. Zuckerberg has ignored the request sent by the House of Commons’ committee for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
According to reports in the Guardian, Techcrunch and other media the CEO of the social media giant has chosen to send in a Vice President of Product instead. In retaliation, the committee is said to have seized documents from the company’s US lawsuit. These documents are believed to reveal what the social media giant’s management knew about its data and privacy controls.
The Guardian states that this seizure can be damaging for Facebook, as it holds significant information on decisions taken, which in turn led to the Cambridge Analytica Scandal.
These documents also include email exchanges between several of Facebook’s senior executives. The documents are believed to have seized by the UK Parliament from the CEO of Six4Three, a startup in the US, while on a business trip to the UK.
Reports suggest that the chair of the committee - Damian Collins, invoked a rare parliamentary mechanism, which compelled the CEO of the startup to share the documents.
Six4Three was in possession of these documents as it is suing Facebook on abuse of data privacy. According to Techcrunch the complaint has been an allegation that Facebook enticed Six4Three’s developers to create apps for Facebook’s platform with the implication that the startup would get long-term access to user data in return.
Reports suggest that the CEO of Six4Three was given a two-hour deadline to comply, and when the he failed to do so, he is believed to have been escorted to parliament.
Damian has been quoted in reports stating as Facebook refused to corporate, they were left with no choice. He added that the committee has some serious questions for Facebook, as it has misled the UK on Russian involvement on the platform. Also, Facebook is yet to answer the UK on who knew what with regards to the Cambridge Analytica Scandal.
The committee believes that the documents it has seized will reveal answers to many questions. However, Zuckerberg has always insisted that the company had no idea or knowledge of the data harvesting done by Cambridge Analytica.
The files are subject to an order of a Californian court. It therefore cannot be shared or made public without risk of being in contempt of court. However, since the summons by the parliament were issued in London, Six4Three founder, while a US citizen, did not have a choice but to comply on international grounds.