PES: Facebook must defend European elections from foreign interference

PES: Facebook must defend European elections from foreign interference

The hearing itself is a step in the right direction, but we were expecting much more from Mr. Zuckerberg to guarantee that the private data of European citizens will not be compromised again.

PES president Sergei Stanishev said:

“The fact that the hearing of Mr. Zuckerberg was livestreamed — something the S&D group and the PES were fighting for — is a step in the right direction when it comes to transparency.

“But more openness from Facebook is needed, especially in the light of the upcoming European elections. Following the Cambridge Analytica data breach, which affected more than 87 million users, including 2.7 million Europeans, far more is needed than apologies and promises for change to assure European citizens that their private data will not be compromised again. We need guarantees that for Facebook, as well as for any company whose business model is based on data collection, privacy has priority over maximizing profits.

“We will not accept even the smallest danger that European voters could be unduly influenced by countries or organisations outside the EU. We want a clear commitment from Facebook and Mr Zuckerberg himself that Facebook will guarantee the integrity of debate on its platform by allowing for full accountability of all paid campaigns.”

The PES believes that, in order for public speech to remain public, it must be accountable and directed towards society as a whole. We will insist that the answers provided in writing by Mr Zuckerberg following today’s hearing will be made accessible to the European citizens.

Concerning privacy rights of European citizens, Mr Stanishev said:

“Personal online data belong to each one of us. They cannot be commoditised without our express consent. We expect from Facebook no less than to abide by the law — that is, by the new GDPR rules — concerning its European users.”