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Oscar Williams

News editor

Facebook is still failing to answer key questions about political ads, says MP

Damian Collins, the chair of the parliamentary inquiry into fake news, has accused Facebook of failing to provide sufficiently detailed answers to his committee’s latest questions.

After the social network’s CTO, Mike Schroepfer, appeared before the inquiry last month, Collins sent Facebook a further 39 questions concerning political advertising and the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

The social network issued an 18 page response on Monday. In a statement attached to the publication of the document on parliament’s website, Collins said: “Given that these were follow up questions to questions Mr Schroepfer previously failed to answer, we expected both detail and data, and in a number of cases got excuses.”

Collins criticised the social network for failing to provide an adequate level of detail on Cambridge Analytica, dark ads, Facebook Connect, the amount spent by Russia on UK ads on the platform, data collection across the web and budgets for investigations.

The Conservative MP has emerged as one the most visible critics of Facebook in recent weeks. After Schroepfer’s testimony, he launched a formal summons calling for Mark Zuckerberg to appear before the committee in person. But at the end of the social network’s latest reply, Facebook said Zuckerberg currently has no plans to visit the UK.

“If Mark Zuckerberg truly recognises the ‘seriousness’ of these issues as they say they do, we would expect that he would want to appear in front of the Committee and answer questions that are of concern not only to Parliament, but Facebook’s tens of millions of users in this country,” said Collins.

“Although Facebook says Mr Zuckerberg has no plans to travel to the UK, we would also be open to taking his evidence by video link, if that would be the only way to do this during the period of our inquiry.”