Facebook criticised by MPs for ‘insufficient evidence’ over data handling

Facebook criticised by MPs for ‘insufficient evidence’ over data handling

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MPs have again criticised Facebook for submitting “insufficient” evidence to a parliamentary inquiry about how it handles data.

Damian Collins, chair of the digital, culture, media and sport committee, published Facebook’s evidence sent in response to a previous letter which put 39 outstanding questions to the social media firm.

His committee criticised the company, saying its answers did not fully address each point about how it handles UK citizens’ data with sufficient detail.

Their criticism follows an announcement by regulators that they are going to pursue their investigation into scandal-hit Cambridge Analytica despite the firm announcing its collapse.

Facebook has said that up to 87 million people may have had data harvested by a personality test app which was then acquired by the company. More than a million of these were in the UK.

:: What does Facebook do with my data – and how do I stop it?

Its chief technology officer Mike Schroepfer was questioned by MPs as chief executive Mark Zuckerberg chose not to appear before Parliament.

The MPs plan to write to Facebook again to address gaps in its answers about how UK citizens may have been affected.

The British inquiry comes after Mr Zuckerberg was grilled by Congress in the aftermath of the company being implicated in the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

Mr Collins said: “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.”

These points included “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”, he said.

“Given that these were follow up questions to questions Mr Schroepfer previously failed to answer, we expected both detail and data, 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 committee 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 gone unchallenged in their business practices, and only under public pressure from this committee and others have they begun to fully cooperate with our requests.

“We plan to write to Facebook in the coming days with further follow up questions.”

(c) Sky News 2018: Facebook criticised by MPs for ‘insufficient evidence’ over data handling