Facebook is an integral and key part of the UK’s digital and on-line architecture, a platform for communications and business tool for companies, organisations and millions of citizens. Facebook’s significance has been discovered to be even more profound with the revelations that by using the Facebook data secured by Cambridge Analytica, the outcome of the Brexit vote – the most significant constitutional and political change in decades – was influenced. For that matter, the data of a million people in the UK was wrongly taken and used. The charge sheet also includes influencing the most recent US Presidential election, enabling Russian interference in elections and a rather concerning allegation of keeping data not even related to Facebook like our texts and phone numbers.
Since the revelations emerged several weeks ago the pressure has been mounting on Facebook to come clean. So, this, week saw Facebook Founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, forced to go before the US Senate and House of Representatives, swapping his characteristic grey t-shirt for a suit and tie that scarcely disguised his discomfort at having to account for the dubious actions of the world’s biggest companies.
Yet, while the grilling of Zuckerberg by less than tech savvy US politicians made compelling, even concerning, viewing, we’re not going to a similar ring-side seat in the UK. Despite the significant implications for the UK from the Facebook scandal, the million-user data breach, the Facebook connections to UK firm Cambridge Anayltica, the Brexit links and more, Zuckerberg has refused the invitation to come before the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee to answer the charges. It certainly raises questions. Does this show the impotence of the UK Parliament? Should such a company be beyond reach? Even Murdoch was forced to come to Select Committee over phone hacking. Why has the Government said very little? Is it because of Brexiteers in Government including Cabinet members Gove and Johnson and staff in May’s team, all part of Vote Leave, which used Cambridge Analyica which used the Facebook data…?
Wasn’t Brexit about taking back control and the sovereignty of Parliament or was that ‘fake news’? It would be good to ask Facebook. Oh yes, we can’t.