Facebook’s problems related to privacy practice are far from over. The US social media giant has come under the scanner of governments around the world since the Cambridge Analytica scandal came to light. Zuckerberg was recently asked to appear before the UK parliament and answer questions from MP but he has repeatedly refused and Facebook is instead sending Richard Allen, VP for Policy, to testify instead.
Now, in an unprecedented move, the UK Parliament has used its legal powers to seize internal Facebook documents. According to The Guardian, the cache documents is alleged to contain significant details about Facebook’s decisions on data and privacy controls that led to Cambridge Analytica scandal. It is claimed that these documents include confidential emails between senior executives and correspondence with Zuckerberg.
The Parliament used a rare mechanism to compel the founder of Six4Three, a US-based software company, to hand over the documents during a business trip to London. Damian Collins, the chair of the culture, media and sport select committee invoked parliamentary powers to escort the founder of software firm to parliament after he failed to comply with an order.
“This is an unprecedented move but it’s an unprecedented situation. We’ve failed to get answers from Facebook and we believe the documents contain information of very high public interest,” Collins told The Guardian.
It is now believed that these documents will reveal how Facebook handled decisions related to user data on its platform in the years before Cambridge Analytica scrapped data for political campaigns. Most importantly, it is likely to reveal what Zuckerberg knew and how he handled the situation. This leads to an ongoing battle between Facebook CEO and UK Parliament after he turned down multiple requests to appear before members of the parliament.
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Since the files are subject to an order of a Californian superior court, it cannot be shared or made public. It is not clear whether Facebook can block UK and other countries from publication of these documents. In the coming weeks, Allen will testify at the special session of the UK Parliament committee. The Facebook executive is expected to be grilled on multiple issues including its data practice and most importantly where its top-level executives knew about such process.