Russian Parliament Invites Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg To Speak
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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has had to venture out of Facebook’s California home base multiple times in recent months to explain himself to world government authorities. However, his most recent invitation from a world government is perhaps the most fascinating, even if the likelihood of Zuckerberg’s acceptance is low.
Speaker Valentina Matvienko vowed to try to summon Zuckerberg to speak in front of Russia’s Federation Council, according to the Moscow Times. The Federation Council is the upper house of Russia’s parliament made up of 170 senators.
One senator harkened back to Russian president Vladimir Putin’s call to “digitize” Russia’s economy. Anton Belyakov thinks it might be a good idea to hear from the Facebook CEO, given not only his technical expertise but his recent testimonies in front of American and European governments.
“After all, he spoke about information security, not giving access to personal data, preventing the dissemination of harmful content,” Belyakov said, according to the Moscow Times.
Russia, of course, has come up quite a bit in the recent discourse around Facebook and the site’s role in American politics. Russian ads appeared on users’ news feeds in 2016 ahead of President Donald Trump’s electoral victory. Online interference is central to the theory that Russia colluded with Trump to deliver the presidency to him.
Mark Zuckerberg was invited to speak to Russian Parliament. Zuckerberg delivers his speech during the VivaTech (Viva Technology) trade fair in Paris, on May 24, 2018. Photo: Gerard Julien/AFP/Getty Images
Zuckerberg said in March he felt Russian forces were trying to do the same thing to upcoming U.S. midterm elections this fall.
Not everyone in Russian parliament is on board with bringing Zuckerberg in, per the Moscow Times. A Crimean senator reportedly called Zuckerberg a “Russophobe,” which Matvienko brushed off. The speaker emphasized a need for dialogue with Zuckerberg regardless of his views.
“We have to meet with Russophobes too,” Matvienko said, per the Times.
At this point, the likelihood of Zuckerberg actually accepting such an invitation seems fairly low. He did not win many points with politicians in either U.S. Congress or European Parliament in recent testimonies, thanks to vague and unsatisfying answers to tough questions about the safety of Facebook user data.
That, combined with his seemingly less-than-amicable relationship to Russia, make it tough to believe this testimony will happen. Engadget also pointed out that Zuckerberg has repeatedly turned down a similar offer from U.K. Parliament.