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Facebook accused of ducking scrutiny by MPs

The head of the Commons ‘fake news’ inquiry says the tech giant is displaying ‘a pattern of evasive behaviour’.

Facebook is facing fresh accusations by MPs on the Commons inquiry into fake news of attempting to duck public scrutiny.

Following the latest exchange of correspondence with the social media giant, the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee chairman Damian Collins accused the firm of displaying “a pattern of evasive behaviour”.

He complained there were “numerous examples” where its responses to detailed questions by the committee had been found wanting.

“In these responses, Facebook continue to display a pattern of evasive behaviour, a pattern which has emerged over the course of our inquiry,” he said.

“The company appears to prefer minimal over rigorous scrutiny.

“In some cases, these answers even show inconsistencies in their evidence to us.

“The lack of public scrutiny of social media and tech companies like Facebook, considering their profound influence over our lives, is a matter of serious concern for this committee.”

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Mark Zuckerberg refused to give evidence (Chris Ratcliffe/PA)

The exchange follows the appearance of Facebook’s chief technical officer Mike Schroepfer before the committee in April after chief executive Mark Zuckerberg refused to give evidence.

Among the examples cited by Mr Collins were its refusal to say what resources it was putting into security following the Cambridge Analytica data breach, its refusal to reveal country-by-country revenues, and its unwillingness to accept accountability for fraudulent adverts which appear on its site.

“The committee will keep engaging with Facebook and other relevant actors until the public get the answers they deserve, and will be setting out full recommendations in our forthcoming report,” he said.

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