The hearing was organized by a British committee investigating Facebook and the spread of false information. In Zuckerberg's absence, officials from all over the world questioned corporate executives who replaced Zuckerberg at the hearing for more than three hours, attacking the company's impact on democracy, the dissemination of false news and the abuse of user's personal data.
"you have lost the trust of the international community." Canadian representative Charlie Angus (Charlie Angus) said.
Members of Parliament attended the hearing from Argentina, Brazil, Ireland, Latvia, Singapore, France, Belgium, Canada and the United Kingdom, representing international accountability for Facebook. Although the panel has no power to enforce any laws or penalties, it is still a rare international cooperation to investigate a company facing numerous censorship problems such as privacy leaks and the dissemination of political propaganda and incitement to racial conflict.
The hearing was also highly anticipated, as British MP Damian Collins, who organized the meeting, hinted that he might be releasing confidential documents from the Facebook. The documents, originally found in a lawsuit in California, were not made public in the United States. The case is Facebook and the application of "Six4Three"DevelopmentData sharing disputes between businesses.
However, Collins did not release the documents on Tuesday, saying he needed more time to examine them.
This led Richard Allen (Richard Allan), vice president of policy solutions at Facebook, to form the focal point of the entire hearing, which he attended instead of Zuckerberg.
Allen, who is also a member of the British House of Lords, said Facebook agreed to develop new regulatory measures, but did not mention what specific regulatory policies the company would support.
"Some of our actions did damage public trust," Allen admitted, and more than once he made similar apologies in different forms. "There are some things that we either don't give due attention or we are too slow to deal with," he added.
But lawmakers at the hearing were not satisfied with such an answer. Some people mentioned Zuckerberg's absence.
"it's incredible that Mr Zuckerberg is still out there today. I think this absence also explains the company's lack of trust around the world, "said another Canadian representative, Nathaniel Erskin-Smith."
Others called for stricter regulatory measures. Members of Parliament have again proposed splitting Facebook.
Collins mentioned the confidential documents he had obtained inside Facebook, which contained an e-mail written by a Facebook Engineer in 2014. The engineer raised some questions about some Russian visits to the platform. This issue has been particularly sensitive since Facebook was accused of being used by Russia to manipulate American voters during the 2016 presidential election.
In a statement Tuesday, Facebook said that "the engineer who raised the question subsequently conducted further investigations into these visits and found no evidence of suspicious Russian activities." Facebook also publishes these emails.
Other lawmakers, euphemistically citing other Facebook internal confidential documents, asked the company if it had restricted application developers from accessing user data unless they bought mobile ads. Allen responded that the company had never been involved in such transactions.
Collins subsequently said he hoped to publish the Facebook internal confidential documents "around next week". He also said that the panel was still reviewing documents to determine which information disclosure would benefit the public interest and which information needed to be edited to protect personal privacy.
But questions have also been raised about how he got the documents. Collins allegedly sent parliamentary guards last week to force Ted Calamo, founder of Six4Three on a business trip in London, to hand over the classified documents.
Collins argues that it has the right to access information related to the investigation in the UK.
Despite the occasional use of privileges by the British Parliament and the United States Congress to publish confidential documents, legal experts say that the current case is very special - even unprecedented - that no British MP has ever used such power to violate the legitimate orders of American courts.
"now there is a conflict between California courts and the British Parliament," said Mark Stephens (Mark Stephens), a London lawyer specializing in international litigation. "it happens from time to time. But we have never seen any foreign court in such a situation. "