May 21, 2018
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's mea culpa tour continues Tuesday.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to tell European Parliament: 'I'm sorry'
The co-founder of the massive social network will appear before the European Parliament in Brussels, scheduled at 12 p.m. ET, and he is expected to echo many of the same messages he delivered last month before the U.S. Congress.
Many Europeans have used Facebook for good, Zuckerberg is expected to say, according to a copy of his prepared opening remarks provided by Facebook.
"After the recent terrorist attacks in Berlin, Paris, London and here in Brussels, tens of thousands of people have used Safety Check to let their friends and family know they're safe," Zuckerberg's prepared remarks say. "Refugees arriving in Europe are using Facebook to stay in touch with their loved ones back home and find new communities here. There are 18 million small businesses in Europe that use Facebook today, mostly for free — almost half of whom say they have hired more people as a result."
However, Facebook has been hit by several crises lately and its users have borne the brunt, too, he says. "Whether it’s fake news, foreign interference in elections or developers misusing people’s information, we didn’t take a broad enough view of our responsibilities," Zuckerberg is expected to say. "That was a mistake, and I’m sorry."
As many as 2.7 million Europeans were among the 87 million Facebook users whose data was possibly misappropriated in the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
The political ad marketing firm, according to Facebook, obtained the data from University of Cambridge researcher Aleksandr Kogan. A personality research app he created gathered the personal data on 270,000 Facebook users and those users' friends, increasing the data set to tens of millions.
Facebook said it thought that data had been deleted but The New York Times and the U.K.'s Observer reported that the data was used to target voters during the 2016 presidential election.
Officials in Europe and the U.K. have sought an audience with Zuckerberg for more details on the scandal and what the company has done to improve the situation.
Europe is set this week to enact the new privacy rules, the General Data Protection Regulation or GDPR, which restricts what kind of data companies can use and store on EU citizens and what they can do with the data.
Facebook has been updating its privacy settings to give users more control over what data is shared with Facebook and connected apps, as well as tools to delete collected data.
Originally, Zuckerberg's appearance had been expected to be a closed-door meeting. But Antonio Tajani, president of European Parliament, confirmed Monday on Twitter that Zuckerberg agreed on having his address live-streamed. Details on the live-stream will be posted on the parliament website.
Zuckerberg will stress that Facebook has a massive presence in Europe. "Ireland is home to our European Headquarters. London is home to our biggest engineering team outside the United States; Paris is home to our artificial intelligence research lab; and we have data centers in Sweden, Ireland and Denmark, which will open in 2020," his prepared remarks day.
Facebook expects to employ 10,000 people across 12 European cities by year's end, up from the current 7,000, he is expected to say.
"I believe deeply in what we’re doing," his prepared remarks say. "And when we address these challenges, I know we’ll look back and view helping people connect and giving more people a voice as a positive force here in Europe and around the world."
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