Mark Zuckerberg’s meeting at the European parliament ended in acrimony amid a chorus of complaints that the Facebook founder had been allowed to evade questions and give vague answers. Over the 90-minute session, the Facebook founder told MEPs there would be no repeat of the Cambridge Analytica data scandal as he fielded accusations that his company had too much power.
The format meant Zuckerberg spent around 30 minutes giving answers to a 60-minute block of consecutive questions. The 12 MEPs asked dozens of overlapping questions that allowed the Facebook boss to pick and choose his answers. Guy Verhofstadt, the leader of the liberal group, slammed the “precooked format” as “inappropriate” and said it had permitted Zuckerberg to avoid questions.
Zuckerberg promised that his firm would follow up with written answers: “I realise there were a lot of specific questions that I didn’t get around to answer,” he said as he noted the session had run out of time.
Damian Collins, the Conservative MP who chairs the Commons digital, culture, media and sport select committee, which Zuckerberg has refused three times to appear before, tweeted:
54 minutes into the European Parliament's session with Mark Zuckerberg and he has not answered a single question. It is clear why he refused to appear in front of @CommonsCMS
— Damian Collins (@DamianCollins) May 22, 2018
After the hearing, Collins said it had been a “missed opportunity for proper scrutiny” on many crucial questions. “Questions were blatantly dodged on shadow profiles, sharing data between WhatsApp and Facebook, the ability to opt out of political advertising, and the true scale of data abuse on the platform.
“Unfortunately, the format of questioning allowed Mr Zuckerberg to cherry-pick his responses and not respond to each individual point.”'
Read more: Complaints that Zuckerberg 'avoided questions' at European parliament