Culture secretary to meet Mark Zuckerberg in US after snub to MPs


Jeremy Wright visits Facebook HQ following founder’s refusal to face Commons committee

The culture secretary has flown to meet Mark Zuckerberg in California, despite the Facebook boss refusing to come to the UK to answer questions from a parliamentary committee.

Jeremy Wright is due to meet the social network’s founder at Facebook’s global headquarters on the outskirts of San Francisco, as the government prepares to unveil its proposals for regulating internet companies. These could place a legal duty on tech companies to deal with problems ranging from online grooming to targeted harassment campaigns.

It is unclear whether Nick Clegg, the former deputy prime minister turned Facebook policy chief, will be in the meeting.

Zuckerberg has been threatened with being found in contempt of parliament after he refused to answer questions as part of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport select committee’s investigation into online disinformation. Although there are strong doubts over whether such a charge is legally enforceable, the Facebook boss has not visited the UK since the threat.

Comments issued by Wright before his meeting suggest that the government’s priority is the potential harm to children through the spread of material online, rather than concerns raised in this week’s select committee report about online disinformation and funding of political campaigns.

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