FACEBOOK chief Mark Zuckerberg will appear before the EU Parliament today to answer questions about the social network’s privacy scandal.
The billionaire tech mogul will be grilled by European lawmakers about why Facebook gave away personal info on millions of users without their permission. Here’s what you need to know – and how you can watch the action live online.
Getty Images – Getty The 34-year-old billionaire will face tough questions from EU bosses
Mark Zuckerberg EU hearing – why is the Facebook boss testifying?
Back in March, whistleblower Christopher Wylie revealed how Facebook had given away data on millions of users.
When you sign up to an app with your Facebook account, you agree to hand over some info from your profile.
In 2007, Facebook introduced a scary new policy.
It meant app creators were not only able to take your info, but info from your Facebook friends too.
AFP or licensors Zuck has already appeared in front of US politicians – but he escaped the two hearings unscathed
So if you signed up to their app, they could hoover up data on the hundreds of people you’ve added.
Thanks to this rogue policy, app creators were taking people’s info who (1) had never used their app and (2) hadn’t given permission for data to be taken.
In 2013, a personality quiz app installed by around 300,000 Facebook users was able to rack up data on roughly 87million people.
Some of this data made its way into the hands of Cambridge Analytica, a UK political propaganda firm linked to the Brexit and Trump campaigns.
In 2014, Facebook scrapped the rule that let developers take data from people’s unwitting friends.
But it was already too late.
Facebook learned in 2015 that Cambridge Analytica had acquired this data, and asked them to delete it.
AFP or licensors Zuckerberg will likely be asked to make assurances over data privacy for the future
However, Facebook didn’t actually make sure the data was deleted.
Then in March 2018, it emerged that Cambridge Analytica may not have actually deleted the info.
Now Zuckerberg is facing pressure from a host of countries to answer for his company’s failure to protect user data.
That’s why the EU wants to hear from Zuck himself.
Mark Zuckerberg EU hearing – what to expect
Zuckerberg has already appeared before US Congress.
And the billionaire 34-year-old also sent one of his lackeys to appear before UK MPs – only after snubbing the invite himself.
That means we have some idea of what to expect.
For Zuck’s two Congress hearings, it was a poor show.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg grilled by US Congress over data misuse in a marathon five-hour hearing
US lawmakers didn’t have all the facts, and seemingly failed to even understand how Facebook works.
The UK grilling saw more savvy MPs question Mike Schroepfer, Facebook’s tech boss.
But Schroepfer was unable to provide the detailed answers MPs were hoping for.
Tech is high on the agenda with the EU at the moment, as it prepares to roll out a sweeping new data protection law called the GDPR on May 25.
It’s likely Zuckerberg will be pressed heavily on how Facebook will comply with the GDPR.
The EU has been working on the GDPR for a while now, so we’re expecting tech-savvy questions from European officials.
Still, Zuckerberg has proved himself a dab hand at dodging tough questions.
It’s likely that any hard asks from EU bosses will be brushed off by Zuck with a mere “my team will get back to you”.
He’ll be questioned by members of the European Parliament, headed up by Antonio Tajani.
The Italian politician has served as President of the European Parliament since January 2017.
The European Parliament is made up of directly elected politicians, voted for by the public.
Mark Zuckerberg EU hearing start time – how to watch Zuck grilling live online today
Zuckerberg’s hearing in Brussels, Belgium is due to kick off at 6.15pm local time.
That means Brits will be able to tune in at 5.15pm BST.
You can watch the livestream here.