Pressure is mounting on Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg as politicians from both sides of the Atlantic ocean want him to explain how data collected from some 50 million users were exploited for political gain, after claims that data firm Cambridge Analytica (see our related coverage) used the leaked information to influence voting.
Already yesterday, British MP Mr Damian Collins asked Mr Zuckerberg to personally before a parliamentary investigation and explain how it is possible his social network was used in various political campaigns (including the Brexit referendum of 2016). the British Member of Parliament called on Mr Zuckerberg to “stop hiding behind his Facebook page”.
Meanwhile Mr Alexander Nix, Cambridge Analytica’s CEO says: “We deleted our Facebook data at the time we were alerted to a possible contravention of Facebook data policies.”
However, when he was asked why he did not specify this to the British parliament during their investigation, Mr Nix responded: “They didn’t ask me that. They asked me if you used Facebook data in your model. The answer to that question is no.”
In the US, Senator Amy Klobuchar, a Democrat from Minnesota, now wants Mr Zuckerberg to testify before the Senate saying it is “clear these platforms can’t police themselves.”
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Government officials in the U.S. and Europe are demanding answers from Facebook over the Cambridge Analytica reports.<br><br>“It’s clear these platforms can’t police themselves,” Senator Amy Klobuchar said. <a href="https://t.co/ioczI48B3M">https://t.co/ioczI48B3M</a></p>— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) <a href="https://twitter.com/kylegriffin1/status/975728604129779713?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">March 19, 2018</a></blockquote>
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Knowing the pressure is on them, Facebook is now responding through Mr Paul Grewal, their vice-president and deputy general counsel, who claimed the company would “determine the accuracy of the claims that the Facebook data in question still exists.”
Mr Marco Rubio, the Republican senator from Florida also discussed the Facebook data hack, saying: “Sometimes, these companies grow so fast, and get so much good press, they get up high on themselves, that they start to think perhaps they’re above the rules that apply to everybody else.”
The EU claims meanwhile that the Facebook data breach was nothing short of “horrifying.”
Ms Vera Jourova, EU commissioner in charge of data protection, has stated that she will impose a fine of 4 per cent of global revenues on any company that fails to report data breaches: “We don’t want this in the EU and will take all possible legal measures including the stricter data protection rules and stronger enforcement granted by the GDPR.”
According to her, the EU will seek “further clarifications from Facebook to understand this problem better. I welcome investigation by UK’s ICO and I am ready to help.”