Earlier this month, we had the undoubted pleasure of watching Mark Zuckerberg squirm awkwardly on his booster seat in front of lawmakers for two days. Nothing actually came of the hearings — it’s a standard part of the tech CEO apology tour — and Facebook is back to its usual business of collecting your data.
But Facebook is a global business, and governments of other countries want their turn putting Zuckerberg in the high seat. The UK Parliament’s Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee already asked Zuckerberg to appear before them, but the CEO denied, sending Facebook Chief Technology Officer Mike Schroepfer as a proxy instead. But according to a letter sent by the committee to Facebook today, Schroepfer “failed to answer fully” 39 questions submitted to him last week, and the committee still wants to speak to Zuckerberg.
Committee chair Damian Collins reiterated that he wants Zuckerberg to appear before the committee, no later than May 24th, when Zuckerberg is scheduled to travel to Europe to give evidence to the European Parliament. If Zuckerberg fails to appear, Collins is issuing the closest thing to a threat that a British politician can muster.
“It is worth noting that, while Mr Zuckerberg does not normally come under the jurisdiction of the UK Parliament, he will do so next time he enters the country,” Collins wrote. “We hope that he will respond positively to our request, but if not the Committee will resolve to issue a formal summons for him to appear when he is next in the UK.”
As Collins notes, the UK has no authority to compel Zuckerberg to travel to the UK to appear before the committee. But unless Zuckerberg wants to spend the rest of his life as a fugitive from UK authorities — and undoubtedly make Facebook’s business in the UK more difficult — he’ll have to endure another round of questioning in the near future.