Facebook could face coordinated regulation by nine countries after chief executive Mark Zuckerberg refused to be questioned by an international committee on fake news.
According to a report in the Financial Times, members of parliament from Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Ireland, Latvia, Singapore, France, Belgium and the U.K. said Facebook has lost the trust of the public — and peppered Facebook’s vice president of policy solutions Richard Allan with questions during a hearing in London after Zuckerberg refused to appear at the hearing. Following the hearing, the members of parliaments signed a joint statement that said: “it is incumbent on us to create a system of global internet governance … and govern the major international tech platforms which have created the systems that serve online content to billions of users around the world,” reported the Financial Times.
Facebook has been facing increased scrutiny in recent weeks as scandals continue to emerge. Charles Angus, vice president of Canada’s House of Commons standing committee on access to information, privacy and ethics, told Allan during the hearing that Facebook has lost the trust of the international community to police itself and that regulation is going to have to be looked at. “I would put it to you that the best regulation would be antitrust … Perhaps the simplest form of regulation would be to break Facebook up or treat it as a utility,” Angus said during the hearing. Meanwhile, the Financial Times reported Hildegarde Naughton, chair of the joint committee on communications, climate action and environment from the Irish parliament, called on the new international committee to regulate Facebook globally. “I would like to see us look at a set of rules through the OECD or [a United Nations] international convention,” she said, according to the FT.
The hearing comes in the same week that the U.K. Parliament could release confidential documents on Facebook that it seized, as soon as this week. According to a report in the FT earlier this week citing Damian Collins, chair of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, the regulator said there are “very important and very relevant” documents that have been obtained from the founder of Six4Three, a U.S. app developer, who was in London on a business trip. Six4Three founder Ted Kramer was compelled to hand over the documents due to an order by the government — the serjeant-at-arms went to Kramer’s hotel to ensure he complied, FT reported.