Udo Bullmann presses “thumbs-down” button on Zuckerberg-meeting in the European Parliament

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Press release

Following the meeting of representatives of the European Parliament with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg S&D Group leader Udo Bullmann said
 
“This was only the start of what needs to be a thorough and transparent investigation of the Facebook and Cambridge Analytica Scandal. The format of the meeting was a farce, not allowing for any back and forth between Zuckerberg and the Members of Parliament. What this meeting made clear is that 75 minutes in a small and exclusive circle is not enough to shed light on the biggest data scandal in recent history. That’s why we demand a further exchange with Zuckerberg and his high-level management with all relevant experts of the European Parliament for a more in-depth analysis. The S&Ds have been pushing for that from the beginning. Unfortunately, the centre-right majority voted for the format we saw today.”
 
“Zuckerberg did not answer many of the direct questions put to him, and the few answers that we heard were disappointing. It is unbelievable that, of all companies, Facebook is apparently not ready to be open on that matter. How can Zuckerberg claim to connect people if he himself is not ready to fully contribute to this? How can he continue earning billions and billions of dollars with users’ information and then refuse to be fully transparent? We will not allow for this kind of double standards.”
 
“Facebook and other social media networks have a powerful position in the process of opinion making. In order to protect our democracies, we must make sure that this position is not abused. The Trump campaign and the alleged influence of Russian forces in political campaigns show how important that is. This is why we have to stop the extensive, secretive and indiscriminate data gathering and processing for algorithmic targeting.”      
 
“We fight for data protection and, with that, also for the sovereignty of democracy. One important step is the new General Data Protection Regulation that was adopted, thanks to pressure from our Group, and which will enter into force on 25 May. Moreover, we are pushing for the new ePrivacy Regulation to be adopted. The new rules will give people the right and the tools to control their own privacy, giving them back some of the power that companies like Facebook have taken. Now it’s up to European governments to work with us to ensure that happens. They have to decide what is more important: People’s rights and data protection or big companies’ interests? We stand firmly on the side of the people.”