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Facebook's Zuckerberg threatened with action if he refuses UK Parliament requests

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Posted at 4:24 PM, May 01, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-01 13:31:17-04

(RNN) – Britain’s parliament expects Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to appear before a media and culture committee by May 24, or they are threatening to officially compel him to do so.

If he refuses, it means the next time he enters the UK, he could be apprehended.

Zuckerberg was issued the ultimatum in a letter from the chair of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, Damian Collins.

In his letter, Collins writes: “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.”

The committee is seeking answers to 40 questions that, it says, Facebook’s chief technology officer Mike Schroepfer “failed to answer fully” when he appeared before the committee on Monday.

Collins wrote the committee would like Zuckerberg’s response by May 11.

“We hope that he will respond positively to our request,” he writes, “but if not the Committee will resolve to issue a formal summons for him to appear when he is next in the UK.”

According to the UK-based Institute for Government, usually a summons is “sufficient to embarrass a potential witness into appearing” before Parliament.

The institute cites the example of Rupert Murdoch and his son, James, when they were investigated as part of a phone-hacking scandal stemming from a newspaper Murdoch’s News Corp. owned.

The pair resisted appearing before the same committee Zuckerberg is now being called before, until they were formally summoned.

If Zuckerberg still refuses, he could be found in contempt. It is, however, extremely rare for Parliament to use its powers to imprison or fine someone found in contempt, according to The Telegraph. Sanctions haven’t been levied by either the House of Lords or House of Commons against a civilian since 1978, the paper reported.

There are roughly 40 million Facebook users in the UK.

Zuckerberg appeared before three Congressional committees last month.

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