Big contrast: The European Parliament hearing follows two that took place in the USA last month, when Zuckerberg faced Congress, spending a total of 10 hours talking about everything from user privacy to Facebook's business model.
The EU is set to adopt a new rule on how companies handle people's personal data, so Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg appeared in front of the EU Parliament to discuss what those changes would look like for Facebook users worldwide.
"We are the regulators", European Parliament president Antonio Tajani said. The format of the hearing allowed the Facebook CEO only several minutes at the end of the session to answer questions.
Nor did he directly answer questions about shadow profiles or whether non-Facebook users' data should be collected. The Facebook chief will go to Paris on Wednesday - he has already answered questions in the United States Congress last month in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
During his D.C. testimony, Zuckerberg admitted that the Silicon Valley is "an extremely left-leaning place", but that Facebook has tried to take steps to root out any political bias among his content review staff. The Facebook CEO may have to follow-up with written answers to their ongoing questions. However, the MEPs also warned Zuckerberg that they no longer trust Facebook to "self-regulate".
"We didn't take a broad enough view of our responsibility and that was a mistake and I am sorry for it". The CEO agreed to follow up in writing to numerous questions and offered to send a company representative to testify before a future hearing.
Mr. Zuckerberg argued that Facebook is constantly changing to fend off competition from emerging new digital-communication services. Instead, after a relatively brief opening statement in which Zuckerberg retread familiar ground, every single MEP (as members of the European Parliament are known) asked their question in a row, after which Zuckerberg gave a summarizing speech that lasted barely 25 minutes. The company recently suspended 200 apps for potentially misusing data, which prompted Claude Moraes, chair of the parliament's civil liberties committee, to ask, "Isn't this a clear signal that Facebook has failed to protect the privacy of its users?"
His comments echoed an apology last month to US lawmakers.
Data privacy, bullying, and information manipulation are emerging as some of the touchstone issues of our day, and the Europeans have frankly put the rest of the planet to shame.
"I'm not generally somebody who calls for legislation on the global stage, but I'm beginning to wonder whether we need a social media bill of rights to basically protect free speech".
Future testimonies by technology industry executives will be much more productive for the public if officials keep questions succinct and only ask the hard ones, executives are given ample time to answer them all and they use a question-answer format.
Facebook's Irish HQ is a testament to the company's commitment to Europe where it will employ 10,000 people by the end of 2018 - up from 7,000 today, a conciliatory Mark Zuckerberg told MEPs on Tuesday in Brussels. An email sent by Facebook right before Zuckerberg's Congressional hearings, obtained by Politico, showed the company asking for help from conservative and libertarians in coming up with ideas to help resist GDPR-style rules. And you have to ask yourself how you will be remembered.
What's more, Zuckerberg's comments to European lawmakers about the GDPR - expressing his support, while rolling out the tools necessary to comply in order to appear ahead of the game - bear a striking similarity to something Zuckerberg told CNN's Laurie Seagall in March.
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