back to article Facebook supremo Mark Zuckerberg has flunky tell UK MPs: Nope, he's sending someone else

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has once again declined to cross the Atlantic to give evidence to British MPs as part of their inquiry into social media and the spread of fake news. The UK's Commons Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee's inquiry is rapidly morphing into a much wider investigation into exactly what happens …

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  1. wolfetone Silver badge

    "Although the committee flew out to the United States to question execs from the major tech firms last month - reportedly at a cost of £84,000 "

    And I bet the bastards didn't fly economy either, or stayed at a Holiday Inn or whatever passes for cheap accommodation in America.

    1. csecguy44

      If only futuristic stuff like video conferencing would exist...

      1. Snorlax Silver badge

        @csecguy44

        @csecguy44:"If only futuristic stuff like video conferencing would exist..."

        Ya think nobody thought of that?

        Poor Zuck's developed a bad case of social anxiety - he doesn't want to talk to anybody by video link or otherwise. Anything he says now can only dig a deeper hole for Facebook and Cambridge Analytica

        1. Mycho Silver badge

          Re: @csecguy44

          Videoconferencing is not an issue. We all know Zucky keeps his webcams covered at all times.

          1. Arty Effem

            Re: @csecguy44

            But did he remember to cover the microphones?

    2. Simon 4

      When you’re working for the CIA, and have big enough balls that you don’t care when everybody says so, you can do whatever you damn well like.

      Search aim4truth Facebook unmasked.

    3. fronty
      Mushroom

      They flew business class, the article states that. Quite why they couldn't fly economy I don't know why. It's our money they're spunking up the wall. :-(

    4. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Coat

      And I bet the bastards didn't fly economy either,

      Remeber, for most Conservative MP's this is a step down in their usual accommodation.

      1. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge

        Re: And I bet the bastards didn't fly economy either,

        Are we working under the assumption that most Labour MPs keep coal in the bath and have to save up for a 1 week holiday in Blackpool?

        I can assure you that the modern tranche of Labour MPs are as Establishment as the rest - lots of parties in Islington with celebs and holidays on the yacht in Tuscany....

  2. Snorlax Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    The heat is on

    He doesn't want his arse handed to him in a similar fashion to Simon Milner in Singapore:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h47QSqLp_e0

    Most striking for me is Facebook's contempt for both citizens and governments in light of recent events

    I think Zuck thinks he's too big to fail...

    1. TheMidnighToker

      Re: Dell Orange is the new Blag

      It's odd and a shame that video seems to have been extremely edited. Look at Mr K Shanmugam speaking at about 2minutes in; they might have just been cropping "umms" and pauses, but the video chops at the end of each of his sentences.

      1. Snorlax Silver badge

        Re: Dell Orange is the new Blag

        @ TheMidnighToker:”It's odd and a shame that video seems to have been extremely edited. ”

        The full interview is 3 hours long. Feel free to watch it and report back...

    2. Tigra 07 Silver badge

      Re: The heat is on

      To be fair to the sly Zucker. This is why you have underlings/minions isn't it?

      1. VinceH Silver badge

        Re: The heat is on

        "To be fair to the sly Zucker. This is why you have underlings/minions isn't it?"

        Exactly. Unless he knows exactly what's going to be asked in advance and is given time to formulate answers, he could say the wrong thing. If he does it, he has only himself to blame - much, much better to get someone else to do it.

    3. veti Silver badge

      Re: The heat is on

      I don't blame him.

      He knows the UK MPs just want to grandstand for domestic consumption: every question they're going to put to him will be one that he's already fielded from US Congresscritters, so why go through it all again?

      British MPs want their photo op, they want to be seen to be grilling Zuck. But apart from bolstering their own campaigns, what would be achieved by it?

      1. Mark 85 Silver badge

        Re: The heat is on

        But apart from bolstering their own campaigns, what would be achieved by it?

        Easy... he could be irritating Brits instead of saying here and irritating those of us in the US.

      2. streaky Silver badge

        Re: The heat is on

        He knows the UK MPs just want to grandstand for domestic consumption

        To be fair this almost never actually happens. Even when Rupert Murdoch showed up he was fairly treated. Asked tough questions and came across poorly, but he was fairly treated.

        Zuckerberg's problem is that as CEO of a fairly major organisation he doesn't seem to do public very well.

        Zuckerberg better hope that his peon can answer all the questions they want to ask to their satisfaction, parliament can hold people in contempt for not appearing and also, frankly, has the power to recommend legislation that could hurt Facebook which frankly might go down quite smoothly. Personally I'd want to ask them questions about their tax affairs and booking UK sales to Ireland to avoid (some would say evade but I couldn't possibly comment) paying tax as a more important issue but that's me.

        FWIW being held in contempt can cause issues with the fit and proper persons test that I'm sure Zuckerberg would prefer to avoid.

        1. Snorlax Silver badge
          Black Helicopters

          Re: The heat is on

          @streaky:"Zuckerberg's problem is that as CEO of a fairly major organisation he doesn't seem to do public very well."

          Watch 'Terms and Conditions May Apply' sometime; Zuck values *his* privacy:

          https://youtu.be/Yn0mglH7XLk?t=1m23s

    4. Whitter
      Devil

      Re: The heat is on

      Silly MPs. You don't want to question the CEO (except for bragging rights), or indeed, any well-trained-to-say-nothing executive.

      You want a middle-management knows-the-strategy-but-never-talks-outwith-the-company to grill. Some sucker who never thought they'd ever have to answer for what they do to anyone who wasn't just as complicit as they were.

  3. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    The taller they are, the harder they fall.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Surely our MPs know how corporate America works. You can't tell a billionaire what to do.

    1. Adrian 4 Silver badge

      Sounds like an excellent test for Cameron's (now May's) Great Firewall of Britain. Disconnect the UK from facebook.

  5. Dr Who

    Rule Britannia!

    Thank god we're leaving the EU. Once we return to being a small isolated island on the edge of a huge economic zone, instead of being a leading member of that huge economic zone, it'll be back to the glory days of the Empire.

    No longer will Putin be able to poison people on our soil and then give us the bird. When our defence secretary says "go away and shut up" they'll take us seriously instead of laughing their pants off - oh yes indeedy.

    And as to upstart heads of global tech giants, the only question they'll be asking when we summon them to Westminster is "how fast should I run?". You just watch, once we're out it'll be like Sampson growing his hair back. People will take notice again -you just wait and see.

    1. Valeyard

      Re: Rule Britannia!

      wtf has brexit to do with any of this

      1. frank ly Silver badge

        Re: Rule Britannia!

        Talking to yourself again?

      2. Zapdog

        Re: Rule Britannia!

        I think the Brexit comment is an interesting point of view on if Zucks would have handled this differently - whether you agree or not.......

    2. Jemma Silver badge

      Re: Rule Britannia!

      Methinks certain people haven't got the memo about satire and sarcasm.

      Either that or they can't read it without sounding out the words out loud.

      As Sir pTerry might say (after a few pints possibly)...

      "Ya know it's --ing amazing how many --ing so called intelligent people in the world make Fred Colon look like --ing Einstein..."

      Or possibly not.

      I think the point trying desperately to get out like a dragon in a cardboard box was this. The UK is hardly going to help itself in this situation by going it alone outside of Europe - we've more clout against the rednecks (oh I so mean that literally *thud*) as a part of a collective than we do as a small soggy island who's highest achievements are Noel Edmonds & the Hillman Avenger.

      1. streaky Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: Rule Britannia!

        The UK is hardly going to help itself in this situation by going it alone outside of Europe

        I don't know where people get this nonsense from but it isn't even worthy of satire. Every time remainers spout this crap another 20k people convert to the cause because they realise how retarded their side is.

        You may now downvote me for speaking truth.

        1. Bernard M. Orwell Silver badge
          FAIL

          Re: Rule Britannia!

          "Every time remainers spout this crap another 20k people convert to the cause because they realise how retarded their side is."

          Quite so! *slowclap*

          Now, can we have the promised £350 million per week into the NHS?

      2. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge

        Re: Rule Britannia!

        The computer that you're using at the moment is a British invention. As is the World-Wide Web...

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Rule Britannia!

      >Thank god we're leaving the EU

      It's great news, it means we can join the USA and have Porno Donnie Diggler as Pres.

      1. wolfetone Silver badge

        Re: Rule Britannia!

        "It's great news, it means we can join the USA and have Porno Donnie Diggler as Pres."

        It's gonna be 'uuuuuge.

      2. Florida1920 Silver badge

        Re: Rule Britannia!

        It's great news, it means we can join the USA and have Porno Donnie Diggler as Pres.
        Heads of state seem clueless about the digital world. Now, you take our president. Please!

    4. Marcus000

      Re: Rule Britannia!

      Sounds like someone is still bitter about how democracy works... Shame on you.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Rule Britannia!

        "Sounds like someone is still bitter about how democracy works... Shame on you."

        It's more a case of having a good understanding of how reality works.

        BTW, where's the Irish border going to go and what will it look like? And what will HMG do if the DUP don't like it? Remember, your idea of democracy depends on the approval of the DUP!!!

      2. scrubber

        Re: Rule Britannia!

        "Sounds like someone is still bitter about how democracy works... "

        You mean like how all laws have to be signed by an unelected head of state? Or how they pass through an unelected chamber for modification? Or how no government has had more than 50% of the popular vote in decades but they all claim a mandate? Or how less than half the MPs got a majority of the vote (fact check that one, I was on a roll)? Or how our fundamental rights have been demolished by a voter-minority government with a massive parliamentary majority (Blair)?

        Bitter? 3 of and 5 packets of nuts before I get off this dangleberry of a planet.

        1. Bernard M. Orwell Silver badge
          Meh

          Re: Rule Britannia!

          ""Sounds like someone is still bitter about how democracy works... ""

          What? Like how big data, bought out with big money, illegally, can be used to rig the result?

          Ah yeah, I forgot I'm not meant to be bitter about that.

    5. ToddRundgrensUtopia

      Re: Rule Britannia!

      Dr Bore yawn

    6. DuncanLarge Bronze badge

      Re: Rule Britannia!

      "Once we return to being a small isolated island on the edge of a huge economic zone"

      We have allways been an island off a huge economic zone. Digging a tunnel and having a few ferries and sharing laws did not change that.

      We kept the pound. Well I did.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Rule Britannia!

        "We kept the pound. Well I did."

        Getting rid of the pound, more's the pity, will be the price of getting back into the EU to rebuild our economy. That'll happen in a few years time when the referendum will appear to have been an extraordinary counting error on account of the fact that nobody will admit to having voted leave.

        1. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge

          Re: Rule Britannia!

          ...Getting rid of the pound, more's the pity, will be the price of getting back into the EU to rebuild our economy...

          What will we replace it with, then? Because the Euro is collapsing as we speak, and surely can't exist for much longer.

    7. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Rule Britannia!

      Planning on putting HMS Victory back in the water and setting sail to wave the flag are you?

    8. Richard 81

      Re: Rule Britannia!

      Next time, I suggest using the "Joke Alert" icon. Some people wouldn't know satire if it hit them in the face with a salmon.

    9. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge

      Re: Rule Britannia!

      ...Once we return to being a small isolated island on the edge of a huge economic zone, instead of being a leading member of that huge economic zone, it'll be back to the glory days of the Empire....

      Once we return to being a free independent island outside the smothering effects of a huge bureaucratic protectionist zone, instead of being the only member of that zone which was regularly outvoted and told what to do by the vested interests of France and Germany, it'll be back to the opportunities we enjoyed in the successful days of the Empire....

      There. Fixed that for you....

      1. Bernard M. Orwell Silver badge
        WTF?

        Re: Rule Britannia!

        "told what to do by the vested interests of France and Germany"

        Yay! Now we get told what to do by the Conservatives and their cronies, big media and get to be the rope in a tug of war between the US and China instead. So much better!

        And the cons get to make up whatever laws they like without oversight!

        Ah, paradise! But, we get to be the Empire again? Do we get uniforms?

        Only complete morons think that we are taking power back to the nation. We're not. We're handing it to the psycho's who put us in this situation in the first place and removing our ability to appeal against their nonsense.

  6. Jemma Silver badge

    British government: I don't care how you get the little Zuckwit here, but get him here.

    Drag the little cretin here in chains if you have to. Do a Mossad-esque operation like that perpetrated on Eichmann if that's the only way it can be done (not that I'm a fan of the OVOC but that particular operation was perfection).

    But get the little asshole here.

    Because if he sends a minion what you'll get is what happened with Hitler pre war - Kristalnacht - "Hitler wouldn't have allowed that, he must not have known about it" was what the (particularly gullible) people said, because all they saw were the minions fronting the policy. Uncle Adi kept very quiet about the whole situation for that very reason

    What'll happen with Zuckerberg will be the same if he's not seen to be responsible - the gullible will say "the Zuckwit didn't know, he's a nice cuddly family man, he probably doesn't like smoking and gives people gifts if they stop"*. While your data is splurged everywhere and anywhere where someone will pay for it. Including individuals and organisations that you wouldn't want anywhere near your private information.

    Personally Facebook should operate under the same rules as the NHS does if not stricter. The NHS can only lose your health data after all. Arsebook has access to a whole lot more information than that and can do a whole lot more damage if they choose to spaff it out to the wrong people.

    The Zuckwit ABSOLUTELY HAS to be held responsible and be shown to be responsible - otherwise it'll happen again and again - more to the point if Facebook is seen to have gotten around it, then other companies will try the same thing - or heaven forfend the NHS (although in their case you just need to get a job as a BR carriage cleaner and it'll fall in your lap for free)

    * Hitler stopped smoking personally somewhere between 1899 & 1918 depending on which story you believe. If a smoker on his staff stopped they'd get a gift of a solid gold fob watch from Mr H personally.

    PS if you have a particularly annoying vegan or vegetarian in your life, and they're getting on your last nerve by spouting on as usual you might mention - mid rant - that Mr H was a vegetarian. That usually shuts them right up (or more accurately causes them to make similar noises to a Ford Cortina on a wet Monday morning whilst trying to recover the situation). Your colleagues/family/friends will thank you for it.

    1. wolfetone Silver badge

      Re: British government: I don't care how you get the little Zuckwit here, but get him here.

      Are you familiar with the rule that, when on the internet, you lose an argument if you mention Hitler?

      1. Jemma Silver badge

        Re: British government: I don't care how you get the little Zuckwit here, but get him here.

        Are you aware of the difference between a statement and an argument?

        Obviously not.

        The Zuckwit collective shows a lot of similarity with the Nazi one. But it's much more pernicious because it's much more universal and much more accepted (unfortunately there appears to be a higher fuckwit percentage in post war humanity) than the Nazis ever were.

        What the Zuckwit is trying to do now is what a certain Bavarian Gefreiter did successfully regarding kristalnacht, the 36 Olympics, the night of the long knives and to a lesser extent the (early) concentration camps. IE not me guv. I should probably have known but I didn't, honest injun.

        If you don't like the Big H as an example another good one is Albert "I'm really really sorry but I didn't see the memo when I signed it" Speer.

        The problem for the Zuckwit, that the two persons above didn't have so much, is the evidence. He'd have to be a political genius to sidestep that massive pile of glowing crap and he just isn't that good and he knows it. If any government manages to pin it to him, then arsebook will die quicker than a sondercommando in Jerusalem (what, you didn't know they were deliberately hunted down post war by their own people?).

        And you might want to look into the career of a certain Reinhard von Gehlen and why he wasn't at the trials if you think the allied governments weren't just as bent and twisted. Ditto the Evian conference.

        1. wolfetone Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          Re: British government: I don't care how you get the little Zuckwit here, but get him here.

          I guess your sense of humour has gone on holiday. I hope it comes back with a nice tan.

        2. Mark 85 Silver badge

          Re: British government: I don't care how you get the little Zuckwit here, but get him here.

          So a bit of "Ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Führer" maybe where Führer = Zuck, or any of the usual political or business leaders* these days?

          Ok.. I went there. Bad me.

          *I use the term "leader" in it's broadest definition and many of those who fit couldn't lead their way out of pig's mud hole.

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