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Facebook: The European Parliament must respond by establishing a European Digital Supervisor


At last night’s hearing in the European Parliament, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg only dodged the MEPs‘ clear questions. A resolution of the plenary session is therefore discussed among the groups for adoption in June. On Friday the general data protection regulation (GDPR) enters into force. MEP Sven Giegold, financial and economic policy spokesperson of the Greens/EFA group commented:

„Mark Zuckerberg given no clear answers to tough questions. Ignoring Members‘ legitimate questions was a demonstration of power which the European Parliament must respond to with its own proposals. We should not allow Facebook to continue exchanging data from Facebook and Whatsapp against the general data protection regulation. Mobile phone apps should no longer force users to give out their friends‘ contacts and other unnecessary data for a personal service. Facebook is no longer allowed to keep shadow accounts with non-user data and has to respect European law in this regard.

The wrong format agreed between Tajani and Zuckerberg has failed to address Parliament’s strong questions. We will insist that Zuckerberg must give a written answer to each of the specific questions. The arrogant appearance has strengthened the will to act across the political groups. Zuckerberg will be sorry for this evening.

Just as Europe has placed major banks under EU banking supervision, we now need to create a European digital supervisor for major digital companies such as Facebook and Google. The political groups must follow up yesterday’s strong statements by their leaders with political consequences. The Christian Democrats must not continue to court Facebook, as their parliamentary president Antonio Tajani did yesterday.

It is time for European democracy to consistently regulate economic and political power in digitisation. The publication of all targeted political advertising announced by Zuckerberg is not sufficient to protect democratic elections and decision-making. In order to guarantee the legitimacy of democratic elections and referendums, Facebook must disclose funding, sources and target groups for all political advertising.“

 

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NOT ANSWERED QUESTIONS by fellow Green MEPs (Philippe Lamberts und Jan-Philipp Albrecht)

Will you assure by Friday that no Facebook user has to give consent for processing of personal data more than what’s necessary to use the service?

Will Facebook when collecting information for security purposes guarantee this is not used for targeted advertisement?

Will there be from Friday no more exchange of data across services like between Facebook and Whatsapp?

Will Facebook commit to systematically and publically release data on politically-relevant advertising in all electoral or referendum campaigns #Brexit #repealthe8th including the amounts, their sources and their targets? 1/6

Will Facebook develop a mode of operation that allows Facebook users to completely opt out of targeted advertising? 2/6

Facebook declares a growing proportion of fake accounts which amount to 3-4% of its 2.19 billion active users. Will Facebook commit to a) eradicate all existing ones by the end of this quarter and b) systematically prevent the creation of new ones moving forward? 3/6

Does Facebook provide media and/or curated content or Is Facebook a neutral platform? 4/6

Will Facebook voluntarily commit to publish as from 2018 the list of its legal entities, the number of people they employ, their turnover, their profits or losses and the taxes they pay on a country by country basis? 5/6

Will Facebook commit to pay taxes where it operates and generalise the commitment it recently took in France no longer to channel the profits made in that country through Ireland and other tax havens? 6/6

 

NOT ANSWERED QUESTIONS by other political groups (selection)

Manfred WEBER, EPP

Who is a relevant competitor of Facebook in Europe? Would you consider Facebook as as monopolist? It is time to break the monopoly. Can you convince me not to do so?

 

Udo BULLMANN, S&D

Are you ready to completely comply with the EU rules, when they enter Friday into force. Can you guarantee to follow these rules?

 

Syed KAMALL, ECR

How does Facebook commercialise non-Facebook user data? Are non-Facebook user able to see what you store as information about them?

 

Guy VERHOFSTADT, ALDE

Article 82 of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) gives users a right of compensation. Will you compensate Facebook users whose rights have been violated? What is the value of this? According to Facebook, the value of my data is 186 USD. Could this value of data be the amount of their compensation?