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Facebook has not fully answered data privacy questions, say UK lawmakers

Tim Maytom

Facebook has failed to fully answer 39 questions submitted by UK members of parliament that aim to explore the social network's approach to data privacy and fake news, according to the parliamentary committee charged with investigating the matter.

The 39 questions were given to Facebook after an initial meeting with Mike Schroepfer, chief technology officer for the firm, failed to address all of the committee's concerns. The meeting occurred last month, as part of the fallout of the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

According to the committee, it will be writing to Facebook again in the coming days to address the significant gaps that exist in the company's answers.

"It is disappointing that a company with the resources of Facebook chooses not to provide a sufficient level of detail and transparency on various points including on Cambridge Analytica, dark ads, Facebook Connect, the amount spent by Russia on UK ads on the platform, data collection across the web, budgets for investigations, and that shows general discrepancies between Schroepfer and Zuckerberg's respective testimonies," said chair of the committee Damian Collins MP. "Given that these were follow up questions to questions Mr Schroepfer previously failed to answer, we expected both detail and ata, and in a number of cases got excuses.

"If Mark Zuckerberg truly recognises the 'seriousness' of these issues as they say they do, we would expect that he would want to appear in front of the Committeee and answer questions that are of concern not only to Parliament, but Facebook's tens  of millions of users in this country.  Although Facebook says Mr Zuckerberg has no plans to travel to the UK, we would also be open to taking his evidence by video link, if that would be the only way to do this during the period of our inquiry.

"For too long these companies have unchallenged in their business practices, and only under public pressure from this Committee and others have they begun to fully cooperate with our requests."