UK Lawmakers Seize Cache of Facebook Internal Papers

In the news lately, documents alleged to contain some revelations on data and privacy controls that led to Cambridge Analytical scandal has been seized by parliament.

This occurs due to the chief executive Mark Zuckerberg’s refusal to answer MP’s questions. The parliament thus used its legal powers to seize the internal Facebook papers in an extraordinary attempt to hold the US social media giant to account.

This cache of documents is said to contain important revelations about Facebook decisions on data and privacy controls that led to the Cambridge Analytical scandal. These documents is claimed to include documents of confidential statements in emails of top Facebook executives and correspondence with Zuckerberg.

The documents were handed over when a rare parliamentary mechanism was invoked to compel the founder of a US software company Six4Three, to hand over the documents during a business trip to London.

The parliament did more than that. In another surprising move, parliament sent a sergeant at arms to his hotel with a final warning and a two-hour deadline to comply with its order.

When the Six4Three company founder failed to do so, he was taken to parliament, where he was told that he risked fines and even imprisonment if he didn’t hand over the documents.

This situation is the latest and toughest move in a bitter battle between the British parliament and the social media giant. There has been several attempts to hold Facebook to account but this has also raised concerns over what rights British authority has over international companies that now play a key role in the democratic process.

Since March 2018, when the Cambridge Analytica incident happened, Facebook has lost more than $100 billion in value. During that time, the Observer exposed how Cambridge Analytica harvested data from 87 million US users, thus facing another potential risk.

The documents found will also show how the management team was using data decisions even in the former years before the Cambridge Analytica crisis occurred. They also reveal what Zuckerberg and other top Facebook leaders knew about user information on the platform.

Zuckerberg has been severally asked to appear before the parliament and he has often refused.

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