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Mark Scott @markscott82
, 43 tweets, 11 min read Read on Twitter
Morning campers, I’ll be live tweeting from the UK parliamentary hearing into @Facebook, misinformation and fake news today. Here’s what you need to know:
Lawmakers from nine countries are here in London to gripe about why Zuckerberg didn’t show up to speak to them. Expect a lot of that, plus Richard Allan, FB’s VP of “policy solutions,” to do a lot of apologizing
Nominally, this hearing is tied to @DamianCollins’ ongoing “fake news” investigation, which has led UK officials traveling to the US for hearings (on taxpayers £). But to be clear, they have no power to actually legislate
So what to look out for? All lawmakers from 9 countries will likely bring up domestic issues: fake news on @whatsapp in Brazil; hacking of Macron campaign in France, misinformation tied to #Brexit referendum
In short, it’s going to be a global tour of FB’s failures, though, to be fair, the company has gone some way to fix the worst abuses, though — again — mostly in the US
Zuck not showing up for his hiding is understandable. I mean, who would want to spend an hour or so getting verbally beaten up. But by not showing the same level of contrition to the international faults as those in the US, he’s not doing his company any favors
Talking of which, here’s my take on why Zuckerberg not showing up today on London is a big misstep…
Zing -- Spotted: an empty chair with 'Mark Zuckerberg' label on it. Ouch.
First question: Why did Zuckerberg show up?

And the political theater begins...
FB's Richard Allan: "We've damaged public trust in some of the actions we've taken."

Canadian MP: "You've lost the trust of the international community of policing yourself."
Zuck's empty chair. (Check out the smiling faces, it's as if they're enjoying this)
Worth reiterating that this UK parliamentary committee has no legal power to do anything, other than to hold hearings. #JustSaying
Thanks for all the messages, am told my tweets are getting snarkier. To that person, I say thank you
We’re 30 min, and here’s an update on what’s going on: nothing new here, lots of “why isn’t Zuck here?,” more “sorrys” than I can count from FB exec. Political theater 1, actual news 0
.@DamianCollins says he won’t publish Six4Three docs today. Sozza, folks.
While we’re waiting for something new to be said, here’s a fun side note: Parliamentary Wi-fi names are bloody hilarious
FB’s Richard Allan says Europe’s new #privacy rules are available worldwide on FB: “the tools we built, we believe, are GDPR complaint, and they are available everywhere.” That is incorrect:…
UK MP: "How does it look that Mr. Zuckerberg didn't show up to give evidence to UK parliament?"

FB's Richard Allan: "Not great" <<chuckles from room>>
Questions turn to if FB shut down competitors using the platform and its APIs that we used by rivals. To be clear, these are specifically linked to internal FB docs seized by UK officials over weekend. Seems like MPs looking to make that info public, tho they're under seal
And it continues: UK MP asks re: Six4Three -- 'what was their beef with you? Why did you shut them out?"

FB exec responds that company wanted to have illegal data access to FB platform.

UK MP responds: "What does FB have to hide?"
An hour in, and we've learned absolutely nothing. But what I'm struck is the global nature of FB's problems, from UK, France, Ireland to Brazil, Argentina and Australia -- note to US followers: FB's problems, imho, are bigger outside of US than back home
And we're back to Six4Three: questions about if FB forced companies to buy ads on its platform, or face getting their access to the platform cut off?

To be clear, these are accusations at the center of a US court case, in which internal FB docs remain sealed
FB's Allan: "We're not in a good place in terms of trust."

In other breaking news, the Pope is Catholic, and bears do actually poop in the woods...
Canada's Bob Zimmer doesn't mince words: "What do you say to our 400 million constituents that you are taking this seriously? You still downplaying down FB's role. You still don't grasp the influence you have on election campaigns"
FB's Richard Allan fills everyone with hope: "We will continue to discover groups of people who are doing things that they shouldn't be doing at election time"

Nice pep talk for those 10k+ new FB content moderators & mega $$ spent on tackling misinformation...
It's taken almost 2 hours, but we've finally got to #Brexit and potential UK general election: FB's Allan says company has yet to put political advertising checks in place in UK, but "we will have as many ppl as we need"
Chuckle of the day goes to Belgian Flemish MP who says Mark Zuckerberg “sent his cat” aka not showing up (some sort of Flemish expression). Over to you, @laurenscerulus
For all of you following the “do they or don’t they” have a FB “war room” for elections, Richard Allan says “we’re building it up”
Exclusive footage of current construction process:
Brazilian politician says the internet doesn’t respect national borders, so that makes it difficult to respond to these challenges. Cue: my pet issue that we’ve broken the internet…
Belgian cat update: @laurenscerulus says: “it’s something like Zuckerberg "stuurt zijn kat," i.e. sends his cat as representative instead of showing up himself.”
Oh, how we laughed. #BelgiumJokes
Next step in political theater: get politicians from nine countries to sign toothless “pact” for internet governance. (And don’t to forget to bring the camera, obvs)
.@DamianCollins says he’ll publish Six4Three docs “within a week,” says he has to redact them and ask FB to ask US Court to publish them.
First session over. My thoughts: FB didn’t come off well, with politicians from 8 countries (Aussies didn’t show up) hammering home that FB isn’t taking its role seriously enough. With regulation on its way, being seen as “bad boy of Tech” not good look
But, none of lawmakers hit a killer blow, nor did FB’s Richard Allan make any major mistakes (I counted more than 50 versions of “I’m sorry over the two hours)
The key is whether this “grand coalition” can actually get things done. Most don’t have domestic powers to legislate and idea of using OECD or UN to create global rules is laughable (in that it will never happen)
So I would call this a points victory for the politicians over FB, but only just. Lawmakers got to vent (more) anger, FB apologized (again), and the average person’s use of FB services won’t change (yet)
Final key takeaway: everyone now agrees tech sector will be more regulated, and that means bad news for Big Tech (and you and me of rules are ham-fisted). More here…
Next up: Privacy campaigner Paul-Olivier Dehaye, followed by Elizabeth Denham, British Privacy regulator. Off to hunt for sandwich before filing story, and then more hearings (starts at 1530 UK time)
ZING -- Britain's privacy regulator says she would have issued 'a significantly higher fine' if the Cambridge Analytica scandal had happened under Europe's revamped rules. (Background: she fined FB max 500k pounds under old rules)
Elizabeth Denham: "I believe the time for self-regulation is over."

I mean, sure. She's a regulator, so she's not going to ask for less power. But I think that's pretty much where we are right now (at least outside of the US). Tech is the new regulatory whack-a-mole
And that's all folks. Nothing too juicy. But more drum beats against FB. ICYMI -- Here's why I think Mark Zuckerberg not showing up in London was a bad move (hint: FB is no longer just a 'US company)…
PS: “They came. They saw. They raged at an empty chair” — my write up on today’s @Facebook hearing in London…
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