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Committee publishes letter to Facebook

18 July 2019

The DCMS Committee has written to Sir Nick Clegg, Facebook's Vice President of Global Affairs and Communications, asking for an explanation on conflicting evidence given by the social network.

The evidence relates to Facebook's knowledge of third-party applications violating the platform's policy through selling or improperly using consumer data, and what action it would have taken if discovered.

Responding to a complaint filed in the United States by the Washington DC Attorney General, Facebook denied allegations that it knew of violations, had failed to take reasonable measures to enforce its own policy, and had failed to inform users when their data was sold.

In the letter published today, DCMS Committee Chair Damian Collins lists multiple occasions in which Facebook representatives provided evidence to MPs acknowledging that the company knew of third-party applications which violated platform policies.

One example highlights evidence given to the International Grand Committee and the Disinformation and 'fake news' inquiry by Lord Allan, VP of Policy Solutions at Facebook. Appearing in November 2018, he undertook to provide a list to the inquiry of third-party applications that Facebook had taken action against for violating platform policies, however it has not been received. Nick Clegg has been asked to provide the list by 12 August.

Chair's comment

Damian Collins MP Chair of the DCMS Committee said:

“It is vital that Facebook is held to account for inconsistencies between evidence it has given here and its denial of allegations in the United States.

“We're asking Nick Clegg to confirm the truthfulness of the evidence given to us by Lord Allan and by Facebook's global policy director by providing the DCMS Committee with a list of all applications that were removed for violating platform policy, as promised to us last November.”

Further information

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