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Facebook will send policy VP to testify in UK instead of Zuckerberg

Richard Allan will have to address fake news and data scandals.
Jon Fingas, @jonfingas
November 24, 2018
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AP Photo/Michael Sohn

Facebook might have turned down the UK parliament's request for Mark Zuckerberg to testify, but it will be sending someone in his place. The government's Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) committee has confirmed that Facebook will send policy solutions VP Richard Allan (above) to testify to a collection of international parliaments on November 27th. DCMS "still believes" Zuckerberg is the best person to address questions about "data privacy, safety, security and sharing," but it has accepted Allen instead.

The executive will testify to politicians from Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Ireland, Latvia, Singapore and the UK on everything ranging from fake news and misinformation to how the company handles data breaches. Most recently, it's concerned about the recent New York Times exposé raising questions about Facebook's knowledge of and response to Russian election meddling campaigns.

Allan's testimony will, to some extent, be for show. After his session, representatives from each parliament are poised to sign a collection of "International Principles" for laws governing the internet -- they already have an idea as to what they want, even if it isn't legally binding. However, it won't be surprising if the hearing influences long-term internet policies in the UK and other countries in attendance.

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