Parliament President Antonio Tajani had lobbied Facebook for weeks to send its CEO but only last week landed a confirmation. But the format chafed the politicians, and when the session ended after running 15 minutes over its allotted time, Zuckerberg was left promising to use other means to answer their questions. He said applications like the ones used by Cambridge Analytica were now more thoroughly checked before being granted access to users' personal data.
The founder of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg has been asked about the suicide of a Northern Ireland schoolboy when being questioned by MEPs. Lindsey Graham posed the same question during last month's US Senate hearings.
Zuckerberg will go on to meet French President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday but has so far declined to appear in front of British lawmakers. Facebook had initially tried to make the hearing private, but some MEPs (Members of the European Parliament) threatened not to attend unless it was public.
"Will you allow users to escape targeted advertising", one lawmaker resubmitted in the final minutes. "And I'm sorry for it", he said. Numerous members of the parliament skeptically asked Zuckerberg whether his company would be fully compliant with the laws, known as General Data Protection Regulation.
GDPR is supposed to prevent companies from withholding services to users that don't want their data collected, and at least one European Union lawmaker was concerned that Facebook would do just that. 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.
The Facebook CEO faced questioning from Members of the European Parliament after the social media giant was the subject of a data scandal over the misuse of data in elections worldwide.
Zuckerberg sought to reassure MEPs that such an incident could not happen under the social network's current rules, and that the new "clear history" privacy tools would give users new controls over their data.
Zuckerberg responded: "We weren't prepared enough for the kind of coordinated misinformation campaigns that we're now aware of".
He spoke for over half an hour in total, mostly repeating assurances and descriptions of Facebook plans that he detailed to U.S. lawmakers during 10 hours of hearings in Washington last month.
"Yes, regulation was important but not so that it might stifle individual creativity; competition wasn't an issue because, as a communications tool, there were multiple communication tools out there; "we always pay our taxes", he said, and he reminded them that Facebook is a major investor in [the European] market".
Stop telling us Facebook is a "platform for all ideas". Facebook has been cracking down on fake news and clickbait, and in an effort to improve the quality of interactions on the platform has reduced the visibility of news. A number of conservative voices claim they're seeing a drop in engagement from fans, and suspect Facebook's algorithm is working against them. "Who decides what [content] is acceptable?" "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..."
Time To Break Up Facebook's Monopoly? She previously fined Facebook €110-million ($166-million) for misleading statements about its acquisition of messaging service WhatsApp, slapped Google with a massive €2.4-billion ($3.6-billion) fine for abusing its position as the internet's dominant search engine to favour its own comparison shopping service and ordered Apple to pay €13-billion ($19-billion) in unpaid taxes.
On whether or not Facebook is a monopoly, the CEO said that Facebook exists in a competitive space where it is constantly forced to update its services to keep up with competitors.