back to article UK Parliament roars: Oi! Zuck! Get in here for a grilling – or you'll get a Tower of London tour

UK lawmakers have threatened to have Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg dragged kicking and screaming to Parliament if he doesn't attend a hearing about the social media giant's dodgy practices in the next month. In a letter [PDF] sent on Tuesday to the head of public policy for Facebook's UK office, Rebecca Stimson, the head of a …

  1. Mystic Megabyte Silver badge
    FAIL

    fail

    I've been trying to warn folk off of Facebook for some time now. but It's to no avail, they are all hooked on it. :(

    1. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge

      Re: fail

      Having looked at it many years ago, I decided that no one in their right mind would want to have anything to do with it, and never went near it myself.

      If I want to talk to my friends, I go down the pub...

      1. Chunky Munky
        Pint

        Re: fail

        I'm with you on this, so my shout

    2. macjules Silver badge
      Paris Hilton

      Re: fail

      It is terrible that Zuck should be stealing data off people and selling it on: that's the British government's job.

    3. big_D Silver badge

      Re: fail

      True, although none of my direct family uses Facebook - my step-daughters deleted their accounts about 4 years ago.

      I had to have an account at my previous employer, but I only used it to control the corporate account. I have since deleted it again.

      To be honest, real life is so hectic, I never really found time to use FB anyway - when I was at my most active, excluding work posts, I'd browse maybe for 15 minutes once a month. So I don't really miss it at all.

      1. AndrueC Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: fail

        I was lucky this time. I have no interest in other people's lives(*) and assumed that they felt the same way about me so Facebook, Twitter and all that social media crap has passed me by :)

        (*)Frankly it's bad enough I have to share a planet with you lot, don't ask me to take an interest as well :)

        1. Gotno iShit Wantno iShit

          Re: fail @AndrewC

          I occasionally make the effort to try and be interested when someone suggests I look at something on their faecbook feed. Then they try to find it. Scroll scroll scroll scroll scroll "it's very funny". Scroll scroll scroll scroll scroll scroll scroll scroll scroll scroll "it's here somewhere". Scroll scroll scroll scroll scroll scroll scroll scroll scroll scroll scroll scroll scroll scroll scroll scroll scroll scroll scroll scroll scroll scroll scroll scroll scroll scroll scroll scroll scroll scroll scroll scroll "you'll like it I'm sure". Scroll scroll scroll scroll scroll scroll scroll scroll scroll scroll scroll scroll scroll scroll scroll scroll scroll scroll scroll scroll scroll scroll scroll scroll scroll scroll scroll.......

          By which time I've gone to the pub to talk to some friends that actually exist.

    4. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: fail

      Facebook.

      Where losers go to lose.

    5. Mark 65

      Re: fail

      I've been trying to warn folk off of Facebook for some time now. but It's to no avail, they are all hooked on it. :(

      Pied Piper for the 21st Century.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And some 40 million citizens using your thing

    That makes me sad.

    1. DavCrav Silver badge

      Re: And some 40 million citizens using your thing

      39,999,999 after I left last month. I have no regrets.

      1. DavCrav Silver badge

        Re: And some 40 million citizens using your thing

        "39,999,999 after I left last month. I have no regrets.

        4 thumbs up & 1 thumb down"

        I didn't know Mark Zuckerberg read El Reg.

        1. Warm Braw Silver badge

          Re: And some 40 million citizens using your thing

          I didn't know Mark Zuckerberg read El Reg

          But he knows that you do...

        2. katrinab Silver badge

          Re: And some 40 million citizens using your thing

          Of course he does. He may not admit it though.

    2. Fungus Bob Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: And some 40 million citizens using your thing

      My thing would wear out long before that...

  3. Franco Silver badge

    it's a sad day

    when Rupert Murdoch has the moral high ground over you.

    It's largely for form as nothing will actually come of this, but even so if it starts people thinking about what they share with Facebook then it's a good thing.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: it's a sad day

      Rupert Murdoch and moral high ground in the same sentence. LOL.

      He's the foreigner who influences UK elections through his media activities and that's really bad, isn't it? Or was that Putin? Which one is illegal again? Or should be?

      It's all so confusing in this post truth era...

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why all the sham theatre?

    If they don't like what Facebook does - make it illegal.

    If Facebook has does something illegal, extradite / arrest those suspected of criminal actions.

    Otherwise, STFU.

    1. DiViDeD Silver badge

      Re: Why all the sham theatre?

      Can anyone remember the last time the US complied with a British extradition request?

      Anyone?

      <tumbleweed>

      1. Cynicalmark
        Devil

        Re: Why all the sham theatre?

        Yes - we have 4 bankers; 2 media owners and a poor chap who exported some batteries all within the last few years. You can have your tumbleweed back.........its messing up my garden.

        1. BebopWeBop Silver badge

          Re: Why all the sham theatre?

          4 bankers - Bermingham (sp?) et al? They deserved everything they go.

    2. JohnFen Silver badge

      Re: Why all the sham theatre?

      "If they don't like what Facebook does - make it illegal."

      It looks to me like they're investigating whether or not Facebook broke laws that already exist.

      "If Facebook has does something illegal, extradite / arrest those suspected of criminal actions.

      Otherwise, STFU."

      You don't want to live in a world where those are the only two available options. You really don't.

      1. Rob D.

        Re: Why all the sham theatre?

        > You don't want to live in a world where those are the only two available options. You really don't.

        The rule of law. The current laws govern what is allowed and unless you break those laws, moral or not, you are free to continue doing what you do. If society/government determines that they would prefer something doesn't happen, then campaign for and pass enforceable laws, preferably reasonably well thought through ones, to achieve that purpose. Bit of extra frippery around the edges on extradition, separation of state and justice, personal freedoms, etc.

        Otherwise, KRFFC (Kindly Refrain From Further Comment; it's a bit more polite).

        1. JohnFen Silver badge

          Re: Why all the sham theatre?

          "If society/government determines that they would prefer something doesn't happen, then campaign for and pass enforceable laws"

          You're seeing that process in action -- this is the investigatory/exploratory stage.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Why all the sham theatre?

            @JohnFen LOL

            Since this is a Cardassian court we're talking about, the suspect has already been found guilty and the hearing is only to determine the sentence.

            Which is why he has absolutely nothing to gain from turning up.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why all the sham theatre?

      Maybe to remind him that 12% of the EU population are in the UK and that they have the power to make that nasty GDPR go away next year?

      1. ToddRundgrensUtopia

        Re: Why all the sham theatre?

        GDPR This year, in fact this month

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Why all the sham theatre?

        "that they have the power to make that nasty GDPR go away next year"

        Only if they want to go extreme Brexit and become the 51st state in the name of taking back control.

  5. Voland's right hand Silver badge

    As they say around the Mediterranean south coast

    There is an excellent Arabic saying which courtesy of the old Turkish Empire has also spread to the Balkans and Caucasus.

    The dogs may bark. The caravan will continue going ahead regardless.

    1. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge

      Re: As they say around the Mediterranean south coast

      Possibly originally Turkish: ...it ürür, kervan yürür...

      https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/the_dogs_bark,_but_the_caravan_goes_on

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I wouldn't bother if I was him. These committees only invite the big wigs so they can ask them aggressive questions designed to get the MP a soundbite on the news. It's all grandstanding and of no worth at all

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Indeed. The British politicians aren't doing it for the good of their constituents.

      If they really wanted make a difference, they could bring in laws to tax these multinationals at appropriate levels. But apparently, it's all too difficult. Must be even more difficult than Brexit.

      Still, anyone can publicly ridicule a CEO in a kangaroo court, if that's what the mob is baying for. It's like shooting fish in a barrel.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        "Must be even more difficult than Brexit."

        It's governed by international tax treaties on the one hand and a realisation that x% of £y is more than 2x% of £0 on the other.

    2. Mark 85 Silver badge

      So in Blighty, it's the same modus operandi as in the States? Much posturing, much lip service, but business as usual.

    3. GrumpyOldBloke

      Yup, publicity whores. They do like to be seen with famous people

      1. BebopWeBop Silver badge

        Preferably with pie in their faces. https://www.theguardian.com/media/2011/jul/19/rupert-murdoch-attacked-phone-hacking-hearing

    4. John Sager

      Yup. Political grandstanding. Zuckerberg should tell them to twirl on his middle finger.

  7. Throatwarbler Mangrove Silver badge
    Trollface

    Why bother?

    He's already appeared in front of Congress; why bother to appear in front of some piddling state government?

    1. JohnFen Silver badge

      Re: Why bother?

      Appearing in front of the Congressional lapdogs was like an afternoon tea. Perhaps the UK has something more substantial in mind.

      1. BebopWeBop Silver badge

        Re: Why bother?

        They certainly see to have been a little better briefed.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why bother?

      If he does, hopefully he can show them up to be incompetent when it comes to their knowledge of technology and how unfit they are to make laws to control it.

  8. Jon Smit

    Cue the Custard Pie

    The Dirty Digger slipped away when the Custard Pie Pillock turned up, don't be surprised if he reappears with a Get Out of Questioning Pie for Shorty.

    1. PhilipN Silver badge

      Re: Cue the Custard Pie

      Could it possibly be arranged by his good lady for general amusement?

      Surely the Digger’s good lady at the time could not have arranged it - for self-publicity?

      I mean, no, definitely, 100% not......

  9. Camilla Smythe
    Megaphone

    Whoop! Whoop! Whoop!

    https://qz.com/1234502/how-to-block-facebook-all-the-urls-you-need-to-block-to-actually-stop-using-facebook/

    Why the actual fuck should I have to try and do the above to stop Zuckerberg stalking me on the Intertubes outside of his Social Network? I haven't joined it. I don't visit it. So he can Fuck Off.

    Yeah, Yeah, Yeah... Use Firefox loaded with NoScript, U-Block Origin and Privacy Badger. Problem is that the rest of the Plebs are not as clever as like what we Commentards are. No offence intended. That's just the way it is.

    I've said it before and I will say it again. It would be much easier for me and the Plebs if my ISP provider added a "Block FaceBook" check box to my Gubberment Mandated Pron Page. They already have a 'homework option'.

    STRICTLY OPT-IN

    Perhaps, if possible, the choice to block completely or block outside of FaceBook 'property'... just in case the Plebs might suffer withdrawal symptoms.

    At least some good might come from Claire Perry's Fuck Whittery and the Daily Mail can, once again, claim that 'It Wuz Us Who Wun It!!!'

    1. Camilla Smythe

      Re: Whoop! Whoop! Whoop!

      Oh... Don't forget. In his Testimony Mike Schroepfer floated the usual crap about The Internet Breaking if Facebook took any action. Bollocks. Facebook would make less money. End of.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      WARNING: Verify!!!

      For existing Facebook users, test using 'Download your Data'.

      Facebook recently added beacon images into the download (sneaky). Check those against the Hosts file above. For example, mine are not blocked by this list. Which is also the problem here.

      Hosts file lists etc, need to be updated regularly, just like legislation. Otherwise we're all playing catch-up with an enemy that is faster and nimbler than you or I can ever be:

      https://forums.theregister.co.uk/forum/1/2018/04/18/facebook_privacy_settings/#c_3489424

    3. bpfh Silver badge

      Re: Whoop! Whoop! Whoop!

      Shorter list (ok taken out some of the CDN servers) :

      facebook.com

      fbcdn.net

      fbcdn.com

      fbsbx.com

      facebook.com.edgekey.net

      instagram.com

      fb.com

      Add those to your ublock domain filter file, though it will nuke access to FB & Instagram's front end sites too. Not that it really bothers me that much!

    4. Rob D.

      Re: Whoop! Whoop! Whoop!

      You can be part of the sheeple herd and get your Internet services for free in blissful ignorance, or you can pay someone to offer you the service only, or you can be a bit more informed about the choices and either decide you don't care or decide you do with FF/NS/PB/uBO or VPN or containers (or all of the above).

      There's simply no point railing at Facebook specifically unless and until they've actually broken an enforceable law/regulation - they will do what they can within and ahead of the regulations to make as much money as they can for their shareholders. Just like 99% of all the other businesses out there. Get the regulation sorted to protect basic rights and country structures (like elections), and let businesses make money from the assorted plebs.

      I'll bet money that even if the regulations say everything must be informed consent with opt-in that 90%+ would just opt-in when the choice is 'Opt in or pay'.

  10. Mark 85 Silver badge

    In real terms, the summons would not result in the CEO being arrested or forcibly taken to Parliament nor the Tower of London – those days are long gone

    Seems a pity to me. Something to be said for the "old ways" sometimes and this is one of them.

    1. John Hawkins

      Which amendment?

      Yes. For some reason the Red Queen comes to mind here.

      1. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge

        Re: Which amendment?

        ...Yes. For some reason the Red Queen comes to mind here....

        Which Red Queen? Are we talking about the one in 'Looking Glass'? Or Jasper fforde's version?

        There are many other options.... but I would prefer the Queen of Hearts in 'Wonderland' - "Off with his head!!"...

        1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

          Re: Which amendment?

          How about Queenie from Blackadder II?

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Which amendment?

        "For some reason the Red Queen comes to mind here."

        Because she never really got round to doing anything about it?

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I bet if the Conservatives actually got serious about properly taxing multinationals silicon valley would be there like a shot....

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Well, as a Citizen of the Former Colonies

    he's not a subject of, or subject to the Norman Yoke, so he can tell them where to go.

    1. Jemma Silver badge

      Re: Well, as a Citizen of the Former Colonies

      Actually the little cretin is, as you so eloquently put it "under the Norman yoke" - since arsebook and associated companies operate in the entire area claimed by that former state. including parts of France, Italy, the entirety of England amongst others. personally I'd favour the "red hot spike up the bottom" approach - or the hanging drawing quartering approach - or from our Chinese friends "the ninth degree" which would have the added advantage of wiping out every Facebook staffer on the planet - although it'd probably be a bit messy.

      I've got precisely zero problem with the little turd enjoying the Anne Boleyn experience in full with his entire family "lest the evil persist".

      incidentally if you know anyone with the surname Bullen - there's a good chance they're related to Anne - the family slightly adjusted the name after her Tudor haircut.

      1. AndrueC Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: Well, as a Citizen of the Former Colonies

        incidentally if you know anyone with the surname Bullen - there's a good chance they're related to Anne - the family slightly adjusted the name after her Tudor haircut.

        Oh, I see a pun to be had there. Descendants of Anne Boleyn: Heir today, gone tomorrow.

        Well..I didn't say it was a good pun.

      2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Re: Well, as a Citizen of the Former Colonies

        with the surname Bullen

        ObInterestingFact[1]: A lot of the surnames that start with 'P'[2] are of Welsh origin. The tales goes that a recently-appointed English magistrate who had been foisted on the Welsh soon got tired of their genealogies[3] and decreed that, from henceforth, only one level would be allowed in his court. So "Iuan Ap Arri ap Iuan ap Iwan" (and so forth)... became Iuan Ap Arri. Which, over time, mutated[4] to Iuan Parry.

        [1] Which, to quote the MMQB, may be of interest only to me.

        [2] And not in the Bob sense.

        [3] Wales, like the Scandanavian countries and the Gaidhlig areas of Scotland, didn't use surnames. Rather, people would be classified by their genealogies - So I would be Anndra mac Phol (ans a'Ghaidlig)

        [4] But not in the Welsh sense. Croeso i Gymru and all that.. Cornish and Breton do similarly. The P-Celtic languages do mutate (mor becomes mhor for example - which changes the sound since a mv is a 'v' sound) but not to the same extent.

    2. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Re: Well, as a Citizen of the Former Colonies

      His company is subject to said yoke, and is known to have broken the law of the land.

      The committee can direct the DoP to prosecute for these breaches of the DPA, and next month can direct the DoP to bankrupt Facebook Inc. 4% global revenue done four or five times...

      The UK also has the power to detain any foreign national visiting any part of the UK or Territories, just like the USA does. The UK just doesn't use that power as often as the USA.

    3. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Re: Well, as a Citizen of the Former Colonies

      subject to the Norman Yoke

      That hasn't been true since about the late 1400's..

      (The Tudors are classed as Anglo/Welsh and had very few legitimate links to either the Angevins or the preceding Norman dynasties. And English had been the Court language for a century or two by that point..)

  13. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge

    Trouble in Paradise?

    ...Facebook seems to share a similar disdain of Collins and the committee: it has repeatedly stonewalled questions and Zuckerberg has not once but twice refused to attend its hearings.

    It doesn't help either that soon after the committee quizzed Facebook exec Simon Milner in February, during which he claimed that dodgy data outfit Cambridge Analytica did not have Facebook data, it emerged that it did in fact have Facebook data – on millions of people....

    So... politicians constantly stonewall and lie to the electorate - refuse to set up inquiries or fiddle the Terms of Reference so that they do not address the main issues. And then whitewash themselves afterwards.

    Why should they be surprised when companies do the same to them? It sounds as if they can deal it out to the little people, but they can't take it themselves....

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Trouble in Paradise?

      "sounds as if they can deal it out to the little people, but they can't take it themselves"

      I think they're having some argument with FB as to who are the little people.

  14. Crisp Silver badge

    "no matter how much money you have, you are still bound by each country's laws"

    [Citation Needed]

  15. Winkypop Silver badge
    Devil

    Appear in the UK?

    Doesn't that Facebook thingy have a chat feature?

  16. wolfetone

    ""While Mr Zuckerberg does not normally come under the jurisdiction of the UK Parliament, he will do so the next time he enters the country,""

    So that's easily avoided for Zuck then isn't it? Next we'll be telling him to go away and shut up.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    he will do so the next time he enters the country

    oh dear, this is going to ruin his regular holiday plans!

    Anyway, methinks they're just huffing and puffing and twitting and facebooking, and soon enough they'll move on to the next point on their agenda. That said, it'd be fun to have James Bond go after Mark Z. Perhaps James might be furnished with an Israeli passport, in a tit for tat, eh?

  18. J.G.Harston Silver badge

    You can't "agreed" to attend a hearing you're summonsed to - your summonsed to it, you are *REQUIRED* to attend. That the whole point of what the the word means.

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Well if you are going to be picky about words, you can't be summonsed to a hearing if you are outside the jurisdiction of the body doing the summonsing.

      Personally, I don't see why the politicians (on either side of the pond) don't *prefer* to speak to a lackey who actually knows rather more about how the business is run. Insisting on speaking to the figurehead is a bit like advertising that the session is all form and no substance. A bit like shouting "Hey! Look at us! We're a bunch of vacuous airheads." and expecting respect in return.

      1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        you can't be summonsed to a hearing if you are outside the jurisdiction of the body doing the summonsing

        Not entirely true. You can be summonsed to appear but can ignore that summons without penalty. Until and unless you then visit the country in question..

  19. Digitall
    Pint

    FaceuptoZuck..

    'a guided tour of the pit of misery?'

    Dilly dilly!

  20. don't you hate it when you lose your account Bronze badge
    Mushroom

    TOO big to fall?

    Their fall is long overdue. The f****rs are nothing more than a pyramid scheme. Treat them as such. The users will find new ways to share their stuff, hopefully without so many chains.

  21. Christian Berger Silver badge

    Seen rationally

    Zuckerberg has no reason to appear before any parliament, or bow down to any kind of law. Even heavy fines won't be relevant as there won't be any way to actually enforce them.

    We allowed Facebook to become to big to fail.

    1. JohnFen Silver badge

      Re: Seen rationally

      "We allowed Facebook to become to big to fail."

      Facebook is certainly not "too big to fail". That phrase means that the consequences to the general public of a business failure is so unacceptable that the business must be propped up by the public to prevent it.

      Facebook is not that. If it went away tomorrow, the public would generally be just fine. Probably better.

  22. Joe 99

    twopenny-halfpenny politicians

    Zuckerberg is hardly going to turn up to answer questions from a group of British twopenny-halfpenny politicians is he. Facebook is global and your laws start and end at Dover i.e. zero jurisdiction over the web.

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: twopenny-halfpenny politicians

      "your laws start and end at Dover "

      And here was me thinking that they started at Lands End and ended at John o' Groats, and included any internet facing hardware in between. Now I find that the Westminster parliament is actually just Dover Town Council on vacation. Oh well, at least I found out before the elections tomorrow.

  23. Sheepykins

    After seeing the US Congress hearing I'd love to know if Conservative MP Collins is actually technically sound enough to grill someone over the abuse of technology.

    I personally would refuse to answer a summons (officially) unless the people asking me questions were qualified to.

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