Zuckerberg allowed to cherry pick MEPs' questions with "no real scrutiny"

Jermaine Castillo
May 23, 2018

That left barely 10 more minutes of the allotted time for replies - though Zuckerberg spoke for a further quarter hour before the Italian speaker of the legislature, President Antonio Tajani, brought a somewhat disorderly halt to proceedings.

Zuckerberg had sought to avoid the spectacle of publicly testifying before European lawmakers, after almost 10 hours of grilling last month by members of Congress.

Commenting on allegations of political bias, Zuckerberg said Facebook was dedicated to being a platform for all ideas: "I can commit to you here today that we have never and will not make decisions about what content is allowed or how we do ranking on the basis of a political orientation". "It's good to be back in Europe!" he said enthusiastically, beginning his remarks.

Apologizing for data leaks: "We didn't take a broad enough view of our responsibilities. But I want to be clear: keeping people safe will always be more important than maximizing our profits". "Zuckerberg did not answer numerous direct questions put to him, and the few answers that we heard were disappointing".

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In the 1960s, it was NY mobster Joe Valachi who peeled back the inner workings of the crime families who employed him. Asked if he would take part, he told CNN: "I presume I am, but I don't know exactly what they have in mind".

The effort was launched by a handful of groups focusing on digital rights, privacy and other social causes. That's positive, since blunt regulation could create a moat for Facebook. Verhofstadt's questions probed whether Facebook is a monopoly, comparing Facebook to a vehicle company telling people, "we don't have a monopoly, you can take a train or a plane".

While the questions were more pointed than those asked by USA congress, the overall feel with Zuckerberg seated next to Parliament members rather than in the hotseat before them gave the meeting a less consequential tone. But today, many of those instances were due to close and even personal questioning of the Facebook founder - not from USA lawmakers asking how Facebook makes money without charging users, or its stance on Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day.

In his monologue of a response, Zuckerberg said the company was investing heavily in artificial intelligence tools to help stem bullying, harassment, and fake news.

But a confrontation was triggered after he failed to respond to an inquiry from Syed Kamall, a conservative British politician, who had asked about "shadow profiles", a term used for private profiles of both users and non-users based on contact information gleaned from Facebook users' phones and inboxes. "Is the only way to prevent Facebook from collecting my data to avoid the internet altogether?" Zuckerberg might have avoided losing the minds of the European Union by dodging damning topics, but he sure didn't win the hearts of Europe's lawmakers. That ignores the dark pattern designs built into that GDPR privacy flow, that while temporarily dismissible, does coerce users to consent by visually downplaying the buttons to opt out of giving Facebook data.

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But the tenor of the speech challenged the revolutionary regime itself as it approaches its fortieth anniversary, next February. Iran claim its nuclear work has medical uses and will produce energy to meet domestic demand and complement its oil reserves.

The meeting was streamed on the Parliament website, as well as on its Facebook page. "The important thing is to get this right", said Zuckerberg.

This frustrated the panel even more, and resulted in Lamberts accusing Zuckerberg of intentionally choosing the meeting's setup strategically. "Will you allow users to escape targeted advertising?"

The meeting's format and time constraints meant the Facebook CEO had only about 30 minutes to answer questions that took at least that long for members to ask, irking some of those in attendance as the briefing drew to a close.

"Will you guarantee that no manipulation from foreign and hostile interference ... on your platform can happen?" asked Bullmann.

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Kroger , the largest US supermarket chain by revenue, operates about 2,780 supermarkets in the USA and has some 443,000 employees. It has already inked agreements with Sweden's ICA , Canada's Sobey's and French supermarket operator Casino .

For Europe, the visit from the Facebook CEO comes a just a few days before its landmark General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) goes into effect (see Yahoo Finance's post for more about this), a move that will restrict how Facebook and other tech companies use data.

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