At yesterdays Conference of Presidents of the EU Parliament, a majority of Christian Democrats and right-wing populists decided that the hearing of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg will take place in camera. Thereby, the EU Parliament bows to the demands by Zuckerberg, who had agreed to a hearing if certain conditions were met. Instead of the usual hearing in a specialist committee, the hearing is set to take place in the Conference of Presidents, behind closed doors.
Sven Giegold, the European Parliament’s rapporteur for transparency, accountability and integrity in the EU institutions, said:
“Approval of a secretive hearing of Zuckerberg is an own goal of the European Parliament. It is pathetic that Zuckerberg promises more transparency, but does not want to make public statements in the EU Parliament. Facebook operates a public platform and must therefore take public responsibility for its actions. The favour that Christian Democrats and right-wing populists have done Zuckerberg is at the same time a snub for all European Facebook users. Like American citizens, Europeans have a right to a public hearing with Zuckerberg. Europeans are not second-class Facebook users. We must continue trying to achieve a public audition. It would be embarrassing if the European Parliament accepted worse conditions than the US Congress. In democracy, Parliaments set the rules, not Facebook.”