Facebook founder to meet European Union parliament, but privately

WASHINGTON DC- APRIL 11 Facebook co-founder Chairman and CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies before the House Energy and Commerce Committee in the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill

Seventy million might have lost personal data including names, addresses, phone numbers and e-mail accounts, while 40 million bank accounts and credit cards were also put at risk.

Senior lawmakers have "agreed that Mark Zuckerberg should come to clarify issues related to the use of personal data in a meeting with representatives of the European Parliament", the Parliament's leader Antonio Tajani said in a statement.

A spokesperson for Facebook confirmed Zuckerberg accepted the EU Parliament's invitation.

He might get tougher questions in Brussels, where an assertive new European data protection law comes into effect on May 25.

Facebook, in an emailed statement, said it accepted the "proposal to meet with leaders of the European Parliament and appreciate the opportunity for dialogue, to listen to their views and show the steps we are taking to better protect people's privacy".

And that members of the public won't be able to form their own opinions about how Facebook's founder responds to pressing questions about what Zuckerberg's platform is doing to their privacy and their fundamental rights.

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However, Mark Zuckerberg is only set to attend a meeting behind closed doors, rather than face an open committee hearing. "It must be a public hearing - why not a Facebook Live?" influential Belgian MEP Guy Verhofstadt wrote on Twitter.

Tajani said that simply showing up to explain himself was already a good move.

"Given the deep distrust caused by the Cambridge Analytica scandal, this meeting must be public", said Philippe Lamberts and Ska Keller, the heads of the Greens bloc in the European Parliament.

"Our citizens deserve a full and detailed explanation", he added.

But he will not appear before the British parliamentary committee investigating the matter, but rather has agreed to appear before the European parliament at a closed-door meeting.

"It is disappointing that a company with the resources of Facebook chooses not to provide a sufficient level of detail and transparency on various points including on Cambridge Analytica, dark ads, Facebook Connect, the amount spent by Russian Federation on United Kingdom ads on the platform, data collection across the web, budgets for investigations, and that shows general discrepancies between Schroepfer and Zuckerberg's respective testimonies", committee chair and Conservative MP Damian Collins said in a statement. While Nix has testified once to the committee, lawmakers want him to give further evidence - a request he had previously declined.

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