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Naughton disappointed as Zuckerberg refuses to attend international hearing

-   Hildegarde Naughton TD

Fine Gael TD Hildegarde Naughton has voiced her disappointment at the refusal of Facebook’s chief Mark Zuckerberg to attend an international hearing concerning the growth of fake news and disinformation.

As Chair of the Oireachtas Communications Committee, Deputy Naughton will represent Ireland at an ‘international grand committee’ in Westminster, London on November 27th where the Facebook CEO had been asked to provide answers to several countries including Ireland, UK, Australia, Argentina and Canada. However, it has emerged Mr Zuckerberg has refused to attend.

“I am very disappointed that Mr Zuckerberg couldn’t take time out of his busy schedule to answer the concerns of the political representatives of 170 million Facebook users.

“The letter we received is no more than a repetition of what we know already and cannot, in any sense, be considered positive engagement. I am far from happy with this response and will be talking to my international colleagues with a view to ensuring social media platforms are held to account for their failures,” Deputy Naughton said.

“I fully recognise the huge positives of social media, the positive economic benefit in Ireland by Facebook’s presence here and the huge role Mr Zuckerberg has played. However, that does not mean social media platforms are above reproach and I am committed to working with my international counterparts to retain the best of social media whilst eliminating the dangers,” she added.

The ‘international grand committee’ represents 170 million users in the countries these parliamentary committees represent.

Deputy Naughton said: “The goal of our parliamentary committees is to scrutinise digital policy, including disinformation and the governance of the internet.

“This committee is a very important event addressing common concerns affecting the people of Ireland, Australia, The UK, Argentina and Canada. Social media is a worldwide tool. It requires co-ordinated worldwide oversight,” Deputy Naughton said.

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