FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Local M.P. Bob Zimmer recently attended The International Grand Committee Meeting on Disinformation and ‘Fake News’ in London.
The Committee Hearing, co-chaired by U.K. M.P. Damian Collins and Zimmer, allowed collaborative scrutiny by members of the national committees of both the British and the Canadian Parliaments in their studies into digital policy including disinformation, digital vulnerabilities, and the potential threats to democracies.
Brazil, Latvia and Singapore joined the Committee which includes Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, Argentina and Ireland; representing over 393 million residents.
Both Zimmer and Collins had requested Zuckerberg to appear before their respective committees to discuss the breach of personal information involving Cambridge Analytica and Facebook, as well as subsequent breaches. None of those requests were successful.
Zimmer says the Facebook CEO had declined their requests several times, saying that Zuckerberg had sent his Vice President, Richard Allan, to represent him at the hearing.
“He declined several times; we asked twice in our committee in Canada, and then Damian had asked him a couple of times in his committee in the U.K. So, we figured together we would ask and just to move the number up so if he didn’t think 30 million was significant enough, we tried 100 million with the U.K. and ourselves. Once we started to add countries, that added up quite quickly. He still didn’t appear. He sent his Vice President, Richard Allan, to appear and it just highlighted the reason why we wanted him there because Richard Allan couldn’t answer many of the questions we were asking, and that’s something only, we think, the CEO would have answers for.”
Despite Zuckerberg’s absence at the committee hearing, Zimmer says they are still going to proceed to regulate social media platform influences while maintaining the right to freedom of speech.
“I call the social media’s the ‘new public square’ where we talk about issues, so the Government shouldn’t be infringing on anybody’s rights of freedom to speak their mind. The comment that I said what we are trying to do is, this new public square that we have, we are trying to keep the bullies from controlling it.”
Zimmer also says that they need to find solutions to fix the problem, especially with a federal election less than a year away, pointing out that Canada’s Communications Security Establishment reports that “Cyber threat activity against the democratic process is increasing around the world, and Canada is not immune.”