A new report by UK lawmakers has called Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg out directly, accusing Zuckerberg of “contempt” for failing to appear a British parliamentary committee, and comparing the behavior of the Silicon Valley giant and its CEO to “digital gangsters.”
Business Insider reports that a new report from UK lawmakers has pulled no punches in its criticism of social media giant Facebook and specifically the companies CEO Mark Zuckerberg. The UK’s Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport Committee (DCMSC) released its report on “fake news” this Monday following an 18-month long investigation.
The report harshly criticized Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg for his refusal to appear before the committee on three occasions. The report further called for the immediate regulation of Facebook and the establishment of an independent UK body to monitor harmful or illegal content on the platform. The report states:
By choosing not to appear before the Committee and by choosing not to respond personally to any of our invitations, Mark Zuckerberg has shown contempt towards both our Committee and the ‘International Grand Committee’ involving members from nine legislators from around the world.
The committee added, “Companies like Facebook should not be allowed to behave like ‘digital gangsters’ in the online world, considering themselves to be ahead of and beyond the law.”
DCMSC chair Damian Collins has been a long-time critic of Mark Zuckerberg and his refusal to appear before the committee to provide evidence, even penning an op-ed in the New York Times calling on Zuckerberg to appear before the committee. In a statement, Collins said:
Even if Mark Zuckerberg doesn’t believe he is accountable to the UK Parliament, he is to the billions of Facebook users across the world. Evidence uncovered by my Committee shows he still has questions to answer yet he’s continued to duck them, refusing to respond to our invitations directly or sending representatives who don’t have the right information,
Mark Zuckerberg continually fails to show the levels of leadership and personal responsibility that should be expected from someone who sits at the top of one of the world’s biggest companies.
Facebook has since responded to the report but did not address the comments directly taking aim at Zuckerberg. Facebook’s head of UK public policy Karim Palant said in a statement:
We share the Committee’s concerns about false news and election integrity and are pleased to have made a significant contribution to their investigation over the past 18 months, answering more than 700 questions and with four of our most senior executives giving evidence.
The report further called on governments to investigate possible anti-competitive practices by Facebook and review the company’s business practices towards other developers “to decide whether Facebook is unfairly using its dominant market position in social media to decide which businesses should succeed or fail.” There has yet to be any official government reaction to the report.