back to article Sorry, Mr Zuckerberg isn't in London that day. Or that one. Nope. I'd give up if I were you

"Delay, deny and deflect." Turns out Facebook's strategy for dealing with major threats works pretty well for small fry too because Mark Zuckerberg has once again turned down MPs' advances. The UK's digital committee has been trying to get Mark Zuckerberg to have a chat with them since the Cambridge Analytica scandal broke in …

  1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
    Coat

    Where's Wally?

    I mean... Clegg

    I thought the reason he was employed was to do the bidding for Zuckerburg in front of governments

  2. elDog Silver badge

    Govmints are just tiny fish in the corporate world

    Get used to not getting your way. When most of your funding comes from the corps it seems that your leverage is not terrible good.

    Besides, the people that put the guvmint representatives in place just don't really GAS.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Govmints are just tiny fish in the corporate world

      So maybe, as a government, you should apply a Chinese style model? You don't reply, we block you. Or maybe better, all UK users can still reach FB, but only through our MITM portal, which strips it of all nasties like revenue generating ads, kills data slurp, the sky is the limit. And then, if revenue falters and evaporates, then Zuck will be swimming to the white cliffs personally. I know, that comes close to state controlled censorship, but hey, you want to convince me we're in the clear completely today?

  3. Simon B-52

    A Hymn for Zuck

    Every day with Facebook

    Is sweeter than the day before

    Every day with Facebook

    I love Zuck more and more

    Facebook saves and keeps me

    And Zuck's the one I'm waiting for

    Every day with Facebook

    Is sweeter than the day before

    1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

      Re: A Hymn for Zuck

      You missed the Two Minute Apple Hate.

  4. DCFusor Silver badge

    Glad I'm not him

    On a lot of levels. Think of it this way - when the press is on a witch hunt, and especially if you're partway guilty of what they want to hang on you - there is NOTHING you can say or do that will make it better, only worse, and your best option is just to shut up.

    We have a rather well known politician on this side of the pond who hasn't yet figured this out....On the other hand, he has a lot less actual influence on most matters than MarkZ, other than captivating the press utterly, even or especially those who hate him most...I guess it's a trick to keep them out of other trouble.

    And being the press they've either not figured this out yet, being even dumber - or they are using it to distract attention from something else they'd rather not have in the spotlight.

    1. JohnFen Silver badge

      Re: Glad I'm not him

      I'm glad I'm not him too -- if I were, I'd never be able to live with myself.

      1. DCFusor Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: Glad I'm not him

        Very much agreed!

        1. Pascal Monett Silver badge
          Trollface

          Re: Glad I'm not him

          So is he !

          1. Ken Shabby

            Re: Glad I'm not him

            and so is my wife

    2. DCFusor Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Glad I'm not him

      I see from the voting we have many members of the press who don't like being called out.

      See how easy it is to provoke irrationality? Joke icon because...

      1. phuzz Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: Glad I'm not him

        1) Make bad comment

        2) Receive downvotes

        3) Claim that downvotes are evidence of a conspiracy against you

        4) ???

        5) Profit!

  5. ratfox Silver badge
    Angel

    Nope

    You guys ain't cool enough for the Zuck.

    1. JohnFen Silver badge

      Re: Nope

      Nah, just the other way around: the Zuck isn't cool enough for the rest of us.

  6. Russell Chapman Esq.

    Block FB until he becomes available. Governments aren't going to lose much in the way of tax by doing so.

    1. Simon B-52

      Shorter = Better

      Block FB until hell freezes over.

      FTFY

      1. LDS Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: Shorter = Better

        Isn't freezing Facebook equivalent to freezing hell?

    2. DropBear Silver badge

      "Block FB until he becomes available. Governments aren't going to lose much in the way of tax by doing so."

      Oh, really? Show me the politician willing to wear the large sign with "Your FB access went poof at my orders"...

      1. Russell Chapman Esq.

        It would only be a few days till he changed his availability and might help cure a few FB users of their addiction. It is a price worth paying to get things done

    3. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Block FB until he becomes available

      You seem to have mis-spelt 'fine them the maximum amount under GDPR on a montly basis'..

      Blocking them will just make them martyrs (and won't work anyway) - fining them will hit them where it hurts.

      1. Russell Chapman Esq.

        If there were a GDPR case against FB, a case would already be in the legal system. They know how to play the rules

    4. This post has been deleted by its author

    5. r_c_a_d_t

      I have been dithering over deleting my facebook account for ages. Now I am definitely going to do it. Maybe.

  7. JohnFen Silver badge

    Increased transparency

    Facebook appear to be taking transparency seriously: they aren't even trying to hide what scumbags they are anymore.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Increased transparency

      Maybe they are taking transparency to a new level ...."what, you wanted to ask me questions in your committee? but I was there all day, didn't you see me?"

      (For those with long memories of BBC R4 comedy then years ago one program (thanks to google - it was "Son of Cliche") had a recurring segment of the "on going adventures of captain invisible and his trusty side-kick the see through kid" with the humour based around captain invisible and the kid seeming to be completely unable to understand that no-one else could see them ... one of the best lines was "hey kid, I was on this toilet first"!)

  8. cornetman

    > "The fact that he has continually declined to give evidence, not just to my committee, but now to an unprecedented international grand committee, makes him look like he's got something to hide."

    Jesus, I hope I never end up in court with these people on the jury.

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      They base their statement on the old "if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear." In this case, FB might have lots to fear even it's just taxes.

      1. Nick Kew Silver badge

        @Mark 85 - Not just taxes, also blame. Lots of juicy blame. Blame that's well-deserved, alongside general scapegoating. The former is limited to what they do deserve; the latter is unlimited. Kind-of, the role telly played a generation ago in What's Wrong With Society.

        Not that I want to defend them. I've never used them, and I'm not about to excuse their Enclosure of the Commons. But I do find it more than a bit ridiculous when posturing politicians make a big issue of wanting one particular individual from a bigco. If we apply an IR35-like test, $company should be free to send a face of its own choosing to do a particular job - like answering to the politicians. Unless we're going to claim Zuck is the government's employee and can't be substituted!

        1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

          excuse their Enclosure of the Commons

          Henricus VIII? Is that you?

  9. ST Silver badge
    Devil

    Delay, Deny and Deflect

    And thus begins the Facebook circular firing squad on the C-Suite floor.

    Sheryl Sandberg appears to be toast at the moment. That might change, though. She might have photos.

    From the NY Times article:

    Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating officer, has overseen an aggressive campaign to fight critics and ward off regulation.

    And she wants to be Prez.

    Sheryl, honey, you just don't know when to stop.

    Stack up on popcorn, this one's gonna be fun to watch.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    usual dismayed and disappointed statements, promising not to let the matter rest

    Sigh, I'm sure I've heard it somewhere before... let me consult my reference sources... ah, there:

    Kim Jong-il: (in English) Hans, you're breaking my balls here, Hans. You're breaking my balls!

    Hans Blix: I'm sorry, but the UN must be firm with you. Let me see your whole palace, or else...

    Kim Jong-il: (in English) Or else what?

    Hans Blix: Or else we will be very, very angry with you. And we will write you a letter, telling you how angry we are.

  11. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    The committee [..] will not let the matter rest

    Wow, them's fightin' words. The Zuck must be tremblin' in his boots.

    Guys, how much are you worth already ? Put together ? Right.

    And what can you do against him, exactly ? Right.

    Let me spell it out for you : until you make refusing or evading an international committee "invitation" illegal and place it under the purview of an international warrant, he's got zero incentive to waste his time with you.

    1. DropBear Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: The committee [..] will not let the matter rest

      "Wow, them's fightin' words"

      Oh, great. I set out to find the origin of a well known expression that I nonetheless fail to place as a quote, and of course I end up learning about Yet Another Reason "free speech" isn't.

  12. Michael Jarve
    Joke

    When El Reg...

    ....even makes the slightest indication that Apple could be in the right on something tangential to the story, you know you've gone over the line. On the other hand, the wild west that the Face Book, etc, have enjoyed for the past decade is ripe for taming. Mark and his ilk have made massive amounts of money monetizing and dehumanizing people, all in the guise of creating a digital utopia. To stay unanswerable for the consequences is unacceptable. In the past, when companies or industries have gotten too big or bold for their britches, the government has stepped in to (at least at first) bring some sanity about. It's true that many regulations and regulators have surpassed and vastly expanded their edicts, but that is another problem for another day. It would not hurt any of these companies to feel the real bite of law (if laws existed that governed them), nor hurt their "innovation" of making money selling ads to people. Some degree of genuine accountability is in order. The other side of the equation, of course, is over reaction by the government, but when applied to tech companies this has been either ineffectual or toothless in the long run, and thus not hurt them at all. A bit like telling your child to improve their grades or you'll reduce the data plan for their cellphone.

  13. Oengus Silver badge

    The question is

    There's an "extensive" team working on "false news," the letter stated

    Are they hunting for or creating "false news"?

    1. Nick Kew Silver badge

      Re: The question is

      You have to distinguish false news from false news. There's a Right kind, and a Wrong kind.

      Though it would be way above my pay grade to tell you which is which. That's a job for the Inquisition.

  14. T. F. M. Reader Silver badge

    "Zuck had ordered his team to use Android phones"

    Hey, Mark, how about banning iThingies from Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp, seeing who blinks first?

    [Disclaimer: no iStuff, no FB account, no popcorn, will follow on El Reg, otherwise don't care.]

    1. LDS Silver badge

      Re: "Zuck had ordered his team to use Android phones"

      And lose the users with the deepest pockets? Those slinging ads won't like it... and I wonder how many of his staff renounced to their bling devices.

  15. Dale 3

    Compelled?

    Is there a legal basis that requires him to appear? If yes, then fine them daily until he appears and send in the bailiffs if they don't pay up. If not, then give it up guys, he said no.

  16. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

    'until perhaps Zuck quits as CEO'

    AKA "the heat-death of the universe"..

    (I can't ever see him leaving - he can't be forced out since he owns 60% of the votes and probably owns all the IP that keets FB running..)

  17. nath042

    Ban facebook from selling or displaying adverts in the UK until he responds. Give an ultimatum its not difficult.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019