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Mark Zuckerberg to come to Brussels: Parliament official

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Facebook and the European Parliament are close to agreeing a deal that would see Mark Zuckerberg speak to MEPs, a Parliament official briefed on the negotiations told POLITICO.

Parliament President Antonio Tajani asked Zuckerberg to come to Brussels and testify before lawmakers in the wake of revelations of data misuse at Cambridge Analytica that affected more than 2.7 million European Facebook users.

The Parliament official, who requested not to be named because talks were ongoing, said the Facebook CEO wants to come but “apparently he has conditions” regarding the format of the hearing. Parliament officials were trying to accommodate Facebooks requests this afternoon, the official said, and hope to officially announce the visit soon.

A spokesperson for Tajani said “we dont have a real confirmation yet,” adding the presidents office is waiting for an official response to two letters asking Zuckerberg to come to Brussels.

If the Facebook CEO does speak, he would do so in a joint session of parliamentary committees because the Parliaments plenary sessions are reserved for heads of state or international leaders “and not for business leaders,” the spokesperson said. Parliament would figure out which committees would be involved but the presidents office is still expecting an official confirmation from Zuckerberg first, he said.

Daniel Koster, a spokesperson for Tajanis European Peoples Party, also tweeted that the visit is confirmed and Zuckerberg will visit in May.

A Facebook spokesperson responded to the reports of Zuckerbergs visit, saying the company “appreciate[s] any opportunity to answer questions the European Parliament may have. As Mark Zuckerberg said, he wants to make sure the most senior members of his team answer the Parliaments questions and explain the steps we have taken to protect our users data further.”

Facebook previously suggested a vice president of the company testify before the European Parliament but this suggestion was shot down by the assembly.

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